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Low- and high-skill migration flows: free mobility versus other determinants


  • Dominique M. Gross
  • Nicolas Schmitt


We investigate what economic factors drive international migration of workers to France and how their influence varies across different skill levels under restrictive policies and through time as free mobility is implemented. We find that neither incentives nor policy parameters are similar across skill levels. Migration drivers such as a network of compatriots and relative incomes influence the movement of low-skill workers. High-skill individuals however move only according to financial opportunities be they standard of living or returns to skill within a class. We conclude that competition for high-skill workers among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries requires more than free mobility to successfully attract high-skill migrants even for a developed country such as France.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique M. Gross & Nicolas Schmitt, 2012. "Low- and high-skill migration flows: free mobility versus other determinants," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 1-20, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:1:p:1-20
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.498365

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    Cited by:

    1. Ekrame Boubtane & Dramane Coulibaly & Christophe Rault, 2013. "Immigration, Growth, and Unemployment: Panel VAR Evidence from OECD Countries," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 399-420, December.
    2. Dominique M. Gross, 2012. "Free Mobility with the EU and Immigration of North American Brains to Switzerland: What Consequences?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 148(IV), pages 497-530, December.
    3. Hippolyte d’Albis & Ekrame Boubtane, 2015. "Caractérisation des flux migratoires en France à partir des statistiques de délivrance de titres de séjour (1998-2013)," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 70(3), pages 487-523.
    4. Sona Schovankova, 2013. "Determinants of the Spatial Distribution of Foreign Empolyees on Different Skilled Positions: The Case of the Czech Republic," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 2, pages 115-139, June.
    5. Vincent Fromentin & Olivier Damette & Benteng Zou, 2014. "The global economic crisis and the effect of immigration on the employment of native-born workers in Europe," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-22, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.

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