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Labor Mobility in an Enlarged European Union

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  • Kahanec, Martin

    (Central European University)

Abstract

The 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the EU extended the freedom of movement to workers from the twelve new member states mainly from Central Eastern Europe. This study summarizes and comparatively evaluates what we know about mobility in an enlarged Europe to date. The pre-enlargement fears of free labor mobility proved to be unjustified. No significant detrimental effects on the receiving countries’ labor markets have been documented, nor has there been any discernible welfare shopping. Rather, there appear to have been positive effects on EU’s productivity. The sending countries face some risks of losing their young and skilled labor force, but free labor mobility has relieved them of some redundant labor and the associated fiscal burden. They have also profited from remittances. Of key importance for the sending countries is to reap the benefits from brain gain and brain circulation in an enlarged EU. For the migrants the benefits in terms of better career prospects have with little doubt exceeded any pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of migration. In conclusion, the freedom of movement in the EU provides for a triple-win situation for the receiving and sending countries as well as for migrants themselves, provided the risks are contained and efficient brain circulation is achieved.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahanec, Martin, 2012. "Labor Mobility in an Enlarged European Union," IZA Discussion Papers 6485, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Barslund, Mikkel & Busse, Matthias, 2014. "Making the Most of EU Labour Mobility," CEPS Papers 9701, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    2. Paolo Pasimeni, 2014. "An Optimum Currency Crisis," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 11(2), pages 173-204, December.
    3. Julia Jauer & Thomas Liebig & John P. Martin & Patrick Puhani, 2014. "Migration as an Adjustment Mechanism in the Crisis? A Comparison of Europe and the United States," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 155, OECD Publishing.
    4. Tiiu Paas, 2014. "Cross-border labour mobility: are East-West and East-East cross-border labour flows differ?," ERSA conference papers ersa14p50, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Kahanec, Martin, 2012. "Skilled Labor Flows: Lessons from the European Union," IZA Research Reports 49, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Kristi Anniste & Tiit Tammaru, 2014. "Ethnic differences in integration levels and return migration intentions," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(13), pages 377-412.
    7. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Sala, Davide, 2016. "Ethnic diversity and firms' export behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 248-263.
    8. Kahanec, Martin & Fabo, Brian, 2013. "Migration Strategies of the Crisis-Stricken Youth in an Enlarged European Union," IZA Discussion Papers 7285, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Martin Kahanec & Martin Guzi, 2017. "How immigrants helped EU labor markets to adjust during the Great Recession," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 996-1015, October.
    10. Margarita Atanassova, 2020. "Quality of Working Environment – Challenges to the Attractiveness of Organizations as an Employer in Bulgaria," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 26-43.
    11. Nikolova, Milena & Graham, Carol, 2015. "In transit: The well-being of migrants from transition and post-transition countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 164-186.
    12. Longhi, Simonetta & Rokicka, Magdalena, 2012. "European immigrants in the UK before and after the 2004 enlargement: is there a change in immigrant self-selection?," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-22, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. Dmitriev, Mikhail & Hoddenbagh, Jonathan, 2012. "The optimal design of a fiscal union," MPRA Paper 46007, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2013.
    14. Elvira Nica, 2015. "Labor Market Determinants of Migration Flows in Europe," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-14, January.
    15. Tiiu Paas & Mart Kaska, 2014. "Geographical labour mobility and cross-border labour movements between neighbouring countries," Gecomplexity Discussion Paper Series 2, Action IS1104 "The EU in the new complex geography of economic systems: models, tools and policy evaluation", revised Nov 2014.
    16. Costanza Biavaschi & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Eastern partnership migrants in Germany: outcomes, potentials and challenges," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, December.
    17. Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "The Mobility Challenge for Growth and Integration in Europe," IZA Policy Papers 69, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Kureková, Lucia Mýtna & Biavaschi, Costanza, 2013. "Labour Migration from EaP Countries to the EU – Assessment of Costs and Benefits and Proposals for Better Labour Market Matching," IZA Research Reports 56, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Michał Konopczyński, 2013. "Fiscal policy within a common currency area – growth implications in the light of neoclassical theory," Contemporary Economics, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw., vol. 7(3), September.
    20. Yvonne Giesing & Nadzeya Laurentsyeva, 2017. "Firms Left Behind: Emigration and Firm Productivity," CESifo Working Paper Series 6815, CESifo.
    21. Bofinger, Peter & Buch, Claudia M. & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2013. "Gegen eine rückwärtsgewandte Wirtschaftspolitik. Jahresgutachten 2013/14," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201314.
    22. Renate Ortlieb & Julian Winterheller, 2020. "Behind Migrant and Non‐Migrant Worktime Inequality in Europe: Institutional and Cultural Factors Explaining Differences," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 58(4), pages 785-815, December.
    23. Eisele, Katharina, 2014. "The US Labour Immigration Scheme – All about being attractive? EU Perceptions and Stakeholders’ Perspectives Reviewed," CEPS Papers 9642, Centre for European Policy Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    new member states; free movement of workers; labor mobility; EU enlargement; migration; EU labor markets; transitional arrangements; European Union;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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