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The Effect of Emigration on Unemployment: Evidence from the Central and Eastern European EU Member States


  • Pryymachenko, Yana

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Fregert, Klas

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Andersson, Fredrik N. G.

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)


This paper contributes to the scant empirical literature on the effects of emigration on source countries’ labour markets. Using a novel dataset by Brücker et al. (2009), we investigate whether emigration from the Central and Eastern European (CEE) members of European Union (EU) during the period 2000 to 2007 has contributed to the decline in unemployment observed in these countries. We find that along with structural changes that occurred in the CEE economies during the last decade, emigration indeed had a strong negative effect on unemployment in these countries. A 10 per cent increase in emigration rate leads to around 5 per cent decrease in unemployment rate. Given the minor effect of immigration on host countries’ unemployment found in the literature (including the studies examining the East-West European migration), this paper’s results indicate that the opening up of labour markets following the enlargement of EU in 2004 mainly has had positive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Pryymachenko, Yana & Fregert, Klas & Andersson, Fredrik N. G., 2011. "The Effect of Emigration on Unemployment: Evidence from the Central and Eastern European EU Member States," Working Papers 2011:32, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2011_032

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Longhi, Simonetta & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2006. "The Impact of Immigration on the Employment of Natives in Regional Labour Markets: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 2044, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. David Blanchflower & Jumana Saleheen & Chris Shadforth, 2007. "The impact of the recent migration from Eastern Europe on the UK economy," Discussion Papers 17, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ray Barrell & John Fitzgerald & Rebecca Riley, 2010. "EU Enlargement and Migration: Assessing the Macroeconomic Impacts," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 373-395, March.
    5. Kahanec, Martin & Zaiceva, Anzelika & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Lessons from Migration after EU Enlargement," IZA Discussion Papers 4230, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2005. "The Impact of Immigration on the UK Labour Market," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0501, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    7. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
    8. Sara Lemos & Jonathan Portes, 2008. "New Labour? The Impact of Migration from Central and Eastern European Countries on the UK Labour Market," Discussion Papers in Economics 08/29, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    9. Benjamin Elsner, 2013. "Does emigration benefit the stayers? Evidence from EU enlargement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 531-553, April.
    10. Prachi Mishra, 2006. "Emigration and Wages in Source Countries; Evidence From Mexico," IMF Working Papers 06/86, International Monetary Fund.
    11. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kahanec, Martin & Kureková, Lucia Mýtna, 2014. "Did Post-Enlargement Labor Mobility Help the EU to Adjust During the Great Recession? The Case of Slovakia," IZA Discussion Papers 8249, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    emigration; unemployment; Central and Eastern Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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