Choice or Mimetism in the Decision to Migrate? A European Illustration
This paper examines how herd behavior (mimetism) and network effects determine bilateral migration flows to thirteen EU-15 countries. Using an adapted gravity model controlling for economic activity, welfare progressivity, as well as geospatial and historic relationships, the results force us to question our explanations for migration flows. Herd behavior positively influences European migration flows, whereas network complementarities in the receiving country do not consistently predict, and may in some cases reduce, the likelihood of immigrant inflows. Moreover, economic activity, particularly labor market conditions, plays a lesser role in the migrants’ choice of destination than was previously thought. The introduction of herd behavior as a determinant of European Migration in our empirical analysis hopefully will change the paradigm for understanding migration.
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