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Migration in Spain: Historical Background and Current Trends


  • Bover, Olympia

    () (Bank of Spain)

  • Velilla, Pilar

    (affiliation not available)


We review the different migration episodes in Spain since the beginning of the 20 th century, with special emphasis on the pieces of empirical work that have tried to identify the factors behind them. Migrations abroad for the 1900-1950 and 1950-1973 periods are considered. Foreign immigration is also discussed. Special attention is devoted to internal migration, both to inter-regional and intra-regional flows. Since the early 1980’s net inter-regional flows have fallen and, following the expansion of the welfare state, the traditionally poor and high unemployment regions have become net immigration regions, while the reverse has happened with the better off ones. Intra-regional migration, which has not received much attention so far, is also analysed to understand its spectacular increase in all regions since 1982. This is associated to the increased employment opportunities in the services sector that has prompted moves (mainly within regions), mostly of skilled workers, towards larger towns where the new jobs are.

Suggested Citation

  • Bover, Olympia & Velilla, Pilar, 1999. "Migration in Spain: Historical Background and Current Trends," IZA Discussion Papers 88, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp88

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Consuelo Gámez Amián & José Ignacio García Pérez, 2002. "Flujos Migratorios entre provincias andaluzas y entre éstas y el resto de España," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/01, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    2. Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael & Antón, José-Ignacio, 2009. "Immigration and Social Benefits in a Mediterranean Welfare State: The Case of Spain," MPRA Paper 13849, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Raquel Fonseca, 2003. "On the Interaction between Unemployment and Inter-regional Mobility," CSEF Working Papers 105, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    4. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2011. "Complements or substitutes? Task specialization by gender and nativity in Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 697-707, October.
    5. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2000. "Discretionary Measures of Active Labor Market Policy: The German Employment Promotion Reform in Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 182, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Bande, Roberto & Fernández, Melchor & Montuenga, Víctor, 2008. "Regional unemployment in Spain: Disparities, business cycle and wage setting," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 885-914, October.
    7. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara De la Rica, 2010. "Immigrants’ responsiveness to labor market conditions and their impact on regional employment disparities: evidence from Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 387-407, September.
    8. Javier Capó Parrilla & Xisco Oliver Rullán, 2002. "Evaluación del efecto estabilizador del presupuesto español y propuestas de estabilización fiscal para la Unión Monetaria Europea," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 162(3), pages 35-60, September.
    9. Frederic REYNES & Samuel OKULLO & Marjan HOFKES, "undated". "How Does Economic Theory Explain the Hubbert Peak Oil Model?," EcoMod2010 259600140, EcoMod.
    10. Catia Batista, 2007. "Joining the EU: Capital Flows, Migration and Wages," Economics Series Working Papers 342, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Tani, Massimiliano, 2003. "Have Europeans become more mobile? A note on regional evolutions in the EU: 1988-1997," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 23-30, July.
    12. Barslund, Mikkel & Busse, Matthias, 2014. "Making the Most of EU Labour Mobility," CEPS Papers 9701, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    13. Carlo Devillanova & Walter García-Fontes, 2004. "Migration across Spanish provinces: evidence from the social security records (1978-1992)," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(3), pages 461-487, September.
    14. Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2003. "On the mechanics of migration decisions: skill complementarities and endogenous price differentials," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 329-349, August.
    15. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2005. "Immigrants' Responsiveness to Labor Market Conditions and Its Implications on Regional Disparities: Evidence from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 1557, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo & José-Ignacio Antón, 2011. "From Rags to Riches? Immigration and Poverty in Spain," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(5), pages 661-676, October.
    17. Ali Mansoor & Bryce Quillin, 2007. "Migration and Remittances : Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6920.
    18. Elisenda Paluzie & Jordi Pons & Javier Silvestre & Daniel Tirado, 2009. "Migrants and market potential in Spain over the twentieth century: a test of the new economic geography," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 243-265, December.

    More about this item


    migration policy; Migration;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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