How has labour migration within Europe changed since EU enlargement?

Anzelika Zaiceva, Klaus F. Zimmermann, Mon, 07/28/2008



Despite the scientific emphasis on the economic needs for skilled workers by native firms, lay concerns remain about whether immigrants may depress wages, cause unemployment, exploit social security systems and generate social tensions. In general, the economic impact of immigration on receiving labour markets depends on the scale of the immigration flows, the composition of the migrating population and the functioning of the receiving economy.

The authors of CEPR DP6921 look at migration within the EU, before and after the 2004 enlargement. In particular, they assess the scale and drivers of migration, and the composition of the migrants before the enlargement, and look at how this has changed post-enlargement.

They find that, in contrast to the global rise in migration, EU citizens have remained fairly immobile, despite the 2004 enlargement. Both pre- and post-enlargement, migrants from the old EU15 members and the new EU10 members have tended to be young and better educated. Among other interesting discoveries, they find that in the EU10 the impact of human capital is stronger, but those with children are now less likely to migrate than they were pre-enlargement.

The authors suggest that labour mobility is unlikely to increase significantly within Europe, with 13% of people in the EU15 and 11% in the new EU10 having thought about moving to another EU member state but given up on the idea.

Finally, the authors go on to look at the perception of migration within the EU, and find that better-educated, left-leaning people in the old EU15 are least likely to perceive flows as "important". On the other hand, only around 50% of respondents in the EU15 thought that immigrants are needed for working in certain sectors of the economy.

Summarised by CEPR staff.

Journalists are entitled to free DP downloads on request; please contact [email protected]. To learn more about subscribing to CEPR's Discussion Paper Series, please visit the CEPR website.


Topics:  Migration

Tags:  EU enlargement, Europe, migration


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