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Social networks in determining migration and labour market outcomes: evidence from the German reunification


  • Rainer, Helmut
  • Siedler, Thomas


This paper empirically examines social network explanations for migration decisions in the context of the German reunification. Using longitudinal data from the German Socio- Economic Panel, we first show that the presence of family and friends in West Germany is an important predictor for the migration hazard rate of East Germans. We then explore whether pre-migration networks have a discernible impact on the economic and social assimilation of East German immigrants in West Germany. We find that East German immigrants are more likely to be employed, and to hold higher-paying jobs, when socially connected to the West prior to emigrating. East Germans immigrants with pre-migration networks also appear to be more integrated into their Western host communities than movers without preexisting social ties.

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  • Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2008. "Social networks in determining migration and labour market outcomes: evidence from the German reunification," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-36, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Jennifer Hunt, 2002. "The Transition in East Germany: When Is a Ten-Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 148-169, January.
    10. Burda, Michael C., 1993. "The determinants of East-West German migration: Some first results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 452-461, April.
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    12. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, September.
    13. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
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    15. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mitze, Timo & Reinkowski, Janina, 2010. "Testing the Validity of the Neoclassical Migration Model: Overall and Age-Group Specific Estimation Results for German Spatial Planning Regions," MPRA Paper 23616, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Nienaber Birte & Frys Wioletta, 2012. "International labour migration in European rural regions - the example of Saarland, Germany," European Countryside, De Gruyter Open, vol. 4(1), pages 73-88, January.

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