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Labor Mobility in an Enlarged European Union

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  • Martin Kahanec

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Abstract

The 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the EU extended the freedom of movement to workers from the twelve new member states mainly from Central Eastern Europe. This study summarizes and comparatively evaluates what we know about mobility in an enlarged Europe to date. The pre-enlargement fears of free labor mobility proved to be unjustified. No significant detrimental effects on the receiving countries’ labor markets have been documented, nor has there been any discernible welfare shopping. Rather, there appear to have been positive effects on EU’s productivity. The sending countries face some risks of losing their young and skilled labor force, but free labor mobility has relieved them of some redundant labor and the associated fiscal burden. They have also profited from remittances. Of key importance for the sending countries is to reap the benefits from brain gain and brain circulation in an enlarged EU. For the migrants the benefits in terms of better career prospects have with little doubt exceeded any pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of migration. In conclusion, the freedom of movement in the EU provides for a triple-win situation for the receiving and sending countries as well as for migrants themselves, provided the risks are contained and efficient brain circulation is achieved.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Kahanec, 2012. "Labor Mobility in an Enlarged European Union," Discussion Papers 2, Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI).
  • Handle: RePEc:cel:dpaper:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tiiu Paas, 2014. "Cross-border labour mobility: are East-West and East-East cross-border labour flows differ?," ERSA conference papers ersa14p50, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Nikolova, Milena & Graham, Carol, 2015. "In transit: The well-being of migrants from transition and post-transition countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 164-186.
    3. Longhi, Simonetta & Rokicka, Magdalena, 2012. "European immigrants in the UK before and after the 2004 enlargement: is there a change in immigrant self-selection?," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-22, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Tiiu Paas & Mart Kaska, 2014. "Geographical labour mobility and cross-border labour movements between neighbouring countries," Gecomplexity Discussion Paper Series 2, Action IS1104 "The EU in the new complex geography of economic systems: models, tools and policy evaluation", revised Nov 2014.
    5. Eisele, Katharina, 2014. "The US Labour Immigration Scheme – All about being attractive? EU Perceptions and Stakeholders’ Perspectives Reviewed," CEPS Papers 9642, Centre for European Policy Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    EU labor markets; migration; EU enlargement; labor mobility; free movement of workers; transitional arrangements; new member states; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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