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Online Job Search and Migration Intentions Across EU Member States


  • Tara Sinclair

    () (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • Mariano Mamertino

    () (Indeed Hiring Lab)


Most studies of migration focus on realized migration. In this study we instead focus on revealed preference of job seekers actively searching for a job in a country other than their current home. The advance of internet job search allows job seekers to explore employment options across the globe before making a decision to move. We characterize job seeker interest across national borders by looking at job search behavior on a major job search website. We focus on the 15 countries of the EU where job seekers in our sample could use the same medium to search at home or abroad. Some of these job seekers may be currently living abroad and are looking to return home. Many are likely responding to information they have about economic conditions both at home and abroad. We find that a small number of countries attract most of the interest of cross-border EU-15 job seekers: approximately 75% of within EU-15 cross-border traffic is going to the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium combined - and another 16% is almost evenly split between Spain, Italy and Ireland. But smaller EU economies actually show the highest concentration of EU15 job search inflows. Overall the UK is the big winner in terms of attracting job seekers from outside its borders: almost 4 out of every 10 job searches of Europeans looking for opportunities outside their home country, but in one of the other EU15 countries, ends up on In addition, we show that the UK also receives significant interest from Commonwealth countries and US. Our results suggest that, while language/cultural affinity together with availability of visas play a role in determining job search behaviors, cross-border job search traffic also mirrors jobseekers’ evaluation of the health of the labor market in the ‘origin’ and ‘destination’ countries . A case study on the impact of a major political event on international job search in Greece provides empirical evidence in support of this argument.

Suggested Citation

  • Tara Sinclair & Mariano Mamertino, 2016. "Online Job Search and Migration Intentions Across EU Member States," Working Papers 2016-5, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2016-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    international migration; labor mobility; online labor markets; EU labor markets; natural experiments; Greece; brain drain;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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