European Migration: Welfare Migration or Economic Migration?
This paper presents an empirical assessment of bilateral migration flows into the EU-15 countries. Using an extended gravity model, it identifies economic, welfare state, geo-spatial and linguistic variables as the principal determinants of migration flows into the EU-15 countries. The empirical analysis uncovers that welfare state provisions in the host country attract disproportionately more migrants from the Central and Eastern European countries and in particular from the developing countries than they do from other EU-15 countries. Immigrants from the developing world are attracted by old age benefits, family and children benefits, and social exclusion benefits and immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe are attracted by sickness and healthcare benefits and family and children benefits. In contrast, intra-EU-15 migration is also influenced by welfare state aspects but to a much lower degree. Our empirical findings lend some support for a more unified or at least better coordinated social policy across the European Union.
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