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Open borders, transport links and local labor markets


  • Åslund, Olof

    () (IFAU, Uppsala University, Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

  • Engdahl, Mattias

    () (Department of Economics)


We study the labor market impact of opening borders to low-wage countries. The analysis exploits time and regional variation provided by the 2004 EU enlargement in combination with transport links to Sweden from the new member states. The results suggest an adverse impact on earnings of present workers in the order of 1 percent in areas close to pre-existing ferry lines. The effects are present in most segments of the labor market but tend to be greater in groups with weaker positions. The impact is also clearer in industries which have received more workers from the new member states, and for which across-the-border work is likely to be more common. There is no robust evidence on an impact on employment or wages. At least part of the effects is likely due to channels other than the ones typically considered in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Åslund, Olof & Engdahl, Mattias, 2013. "Open borders, transport links and local labor markets," Working Paper Series 2013:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2013_009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brändle, Tobias & Kalweit, René, 2016. "The Employment Effects of the EU Eastern Enlargement in Germany," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145502, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item


    migration policy; immigration; labor market outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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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