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Spanish Internal Migration: Is there Anything New to Say?


  • Alan Mulhern
  • John Watson


Abstract Spanish internal migration has long been resistant to traditional economic explanations. However, this paper examines the data for the period 1999–2006 after considerable changes in the Spanish economy. Moreover, it examines migration at the disaggregated level of Spanish provinces rather than regions, the usual unit of measurement. Using a spatial error model as well as a spatial autoregression model it finds the differentials in wages and unemployment between provinces to be significant explanatory variables. House prices are also important in accounting for the dynamics of internal migration. Les migrations internes en Espagne: qu'y a-t-il de nouveau? Les migrations internes en Espagne résistent, depuis toujours, à des explications économiques traditionnelles. Cependant, la présente communication examine les données relatives à la période 1999–2006, dans le sillage des changements considérables qui sont survenus dans l’économie espagnole. Elle se penche également sur la migration au niveau désagrégé de provinces espagnoles plutôt que de régions, unité de mesure traditionnelle. En utilisant un modèle d'erreur spatiale ainsi qu'un modèle à autorégression spatiale, elle en conclut que les différences sur le plan des salaires et du chômage entre les différentes provinces constituent des variables explicatives significatives. En outre, le prix de l'immobilier résidentiel joue également un rôle important dans l'examen de la dynamique des migrations internes. Migracin interior espaola: Queda algo nuevo por decir? La migración interior española lleva mucho tiempo resistiéndose a las explicaciones económicas tradicionales. No obstante, este artículo examina los datos de 1999–2006, después de considerables cambios en la economía española. Asimismo, examina la migración al nivel desagregado de provincias españolas, en lugar de regiones, que representa la unidad típica de medida. Utilizando un modelo de error espacial, así como un modelo de autorregresión espacial, se descubre que los diferenciales en salarios y empleo entre las provincias son importantes variables explicativas. Los precios de la vivienda también son importantes a la hora de comprender la dinámica de la migración interior.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Mulhern & John Watson, 2009. "Spanish Internal Migration: Is there Anything New to Say?," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 103-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:4:y:2009:i:1:p:103-120
    DOI: 10.1080/17421770802625841

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olympia Bover & Pilar Velilla, 1999. "Migrations in Spain: Historical Background and Current Trends," Working Papers 9909, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Raquel Fonseca, 2003. "On the Interaction between Unemployment and Inter-regional Mobility," CSEF Working Papers 105, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Celia Melguizo Cháfe & Vicente Royuela, 2017. "“What drives migration moves across urban areas in Spain?. Evidence from the Great Recession”," AQR Working Papers 201709, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Sep 2017.
    2. David McArthur & Inge Thorsen, 2011. "Determinants of internal migration in Norway," ERSA conference papers ersa10p532, European Regional Science Association.
    3. B. Fingleton & P. Cheshire & H. Garretsen & D. Igliori & J. Gallo & P. McCann & J. McCombie & V. Monastiriotis & B. Moore & M. Roberts, 2009. "Editorial," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-4.
    4. David Philip Mcarthur & Inge Thorsen & Jan Ubøe, 2010. "A Micro‐Simulation Approach to Modelling Spatial Unemployment Disparities," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 374-402, September.
    5. González-Chapela, Jorge & Ortega-Lapiedra, Raquel, 2019. "Reform of the Personal Income Tax in Spain: Effects on internal mobility of the unemployed," MPRA Paper 95308, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. María Gutiérrez-Portilla & Adolfo Maza & María Hierro, 2018. "Foreigners versus natives in Spain: different migration patterns? Any changes in the aftermath of the crisis?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 61(1), pages 139-159, July.

    More about this item


    Internal migration; Spain; spatial error model; J61; O15; R23;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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