Since 2005, the Korean government has relocated national research institutes from the Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA) to other parts of the nation. The main purpose of this relocation is to ameliorate disparities in population and economic power across regions. However, it turns out that only 27% of researchers in the SMA have actually relocated. This implies that researcher’s preference for a living environment should be reflected in the planning process. Hence, this paper attempts to specify the migration behaviors of researchers by comparing their preferences with those of general workers. Here, regional living environment is represented by a function of two attributes: regional labor market conditions and living environments. The paper shows that regional living environments have a more decisive impact on the migration of researchers, relative to general workers. Also, researchers are found to be slightly more sensitive to regional living environments especially crime than regional labor market conditions. Finally, the paper suggests a policy direction for balanced development among regions in Korea based on the results obtained.