IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

How do Migrants Choose their Destination Country? An Analysis of Institutional Determinants

  • Wido Geis
  • Silke Uebelmesser
  • Martin Werding

For a long time, migration has been subject to intensive economic research. Nevertheless, empirical evidence regarding the determinants of migration still appears to be incomplete. In this paper, we analyze the effects of socio-economic and institutional determinants, especially labor-market institutions, on migrants' choices. Based on a large data set constructed from micro-data for France, Germany, the UK and the US, we study their decisions to migrate to one of the four countries using a Multinomial Choice framework. Our estimates confirm a number of conventional results such as positive effects of wages and immigrant networks and negative effects of unemployment rates. In addition, we find that employment protection, union coverage and unemployment benefits have positive effects on migration. Also good education and health systems tend to attract migrants, while generous pension systems may deter them. Based on separate estimations for high- and low-skilled migrants, there is evidence that the effects of labor-market institutions differ across skill groups.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2506.

in new window

Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2506
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2004. "Selection or Network Effects? Migration Flows into 27 OECD Countries, 1990-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 1104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  3. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "I just ran four million regressions," Economics Working Papers 201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Marko Koethenbuerger & Panu Poutvaara & Paola Profeta, 2005. "Why are More Redistributive Social Security Systems Smaller? A Median Voter Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1397, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Amelie F. Constant & Elena D’Agosto, 2010. "Where Do the Brainy Italians Go?," AIEL Series in Labour Economics, in: Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore (ed.), The Labour Market Impact of the EU Enlargement. A New Regional Geography of Europe?, edition 1, chapter 10, pages 247-271 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
  6. Bauer, Thomas & Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2002. "Enclaves, Language and the Location Choice of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 3527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Lundborg, Per, 1991. " Determinants of Migration in the Nordic Labor Market," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(3), pages 363-75.
  8. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  9. Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "International migration: A panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0707, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  10. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2005. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521848053, September.
  11. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-37, October.
  12. Leamer, Edward E, 1985. "Sensitivity Analyses Would Help," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 308-13, June.
  13. Åslund, Olof, 2001. "Now and forever? Initial and subsequent location choices of immigrants," Working Paper Series 2001:11, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  14. Thomas Bauer & Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2006. "The Influence of Stocks and Flows on Migrants’ Location Choices," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  15. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
  16. Munz, Sonja & Werding, Martin, 2005. "Public pensions and international migration: some clarifications and illustrative results," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 181-207, July.
  17. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  18. Wido Geis & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2008. "Why go to France or Germany, if you could as well go to the UK or the US? Selective Features of Immigration to four major OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2427, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Amelie Constant & Elena D'Agosto, 2008. "Where Do the Brainy Italians Go?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 763, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  20. HÃ¥vard Hegre & Nicholas Sambanis, 2006. "Sensitivity Analysis of Empirical Results on Civil War Onset," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(4), pages 508-535, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2506. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.