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10 Years After: EU Enlargement, Closed Borders, and Migration to Germany

  • Elsner, Benjamin



  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.


    (IZA and University of Bonn)

We study how the EU enlargement in 2004 and the Great Recession in the late 2000s have shaped the scale and composition of migration flows from the New Member States to Germany. We demonstrate that immigration increased substantially despite the restrictions on the German labor market, and that net flows decreased to zero at the outset of the recession. The cohorts arriving after 2004 had on average a lower education than the previous arrival cohort, but the wage gap compared to Germans became narrower over time. Almost 10 years after EU enlargement, we re-assess the transitional arrangements, and argue that Germany would have been better off, had it immediately opened its labor market. Finally, the Great recession allows us to study how effective migration within the EU is as an adjustment mechanism. Our data clearly show an increase in immigration from countries that were hit by the crisis, although the annual net flows are still too small to significantly reduce unemployment in the countries hit by the crisis.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7130.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: M. Kahanec and K.F. Zimmermann (eds.): Labor Migration, EU Enlargement, and the Great Recession, Springer: Berlin, et al. 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7130
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  1. Matloob Piracha & Florin Vadean, 2013. "Migrant educational mismatch and the labor market," Chapters, in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 9, pages 176-192 Edward Elgar.
  2. D Amuri, Francesco & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2008. "The Labour Market Impact of Immigration in Western Germany in the 1990's," CEPR Discussion Papers 6736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2009. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0918, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Baas, Timo & Brücker, Herbert, 2012. "The macroeconomic consequences of migration diversion: Evidence for Germany and the UK," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 180-194.
  5. Benjamin Elsner, 2011. "Emigration and Wages: The EU Enlargement Experiment," Working Papers 2011.76, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "International Migration, Ethnicity and Economic Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 3450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Brenke, Karl & Yuksel, Mutlu & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "EU Enlargement under Continued Mobility Restrictions: Consequences for the German Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 4055, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2011. "Another Economic Miracle? The German Labor Market and the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 6250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Herbert Brücker & Elke J. Jahn, 2011. "Migration and Wage‐setting: Reassessing the Labor Market Effects of Migration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 286-317, 06.
  10. Constant, Amelie F. & Nottmeyer, Olga & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "The Economics of Circular Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 6940, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Benjamin Elsner, 2013. "Does emigration benefit the stayers? Evidence from EU enlargement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 531-553, April.
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