Is spatial mobility a reproduction mechanism of inequality? An empirical analysis of the job search behavior and the international mobility of students and re-cent graduates
Concentrating on the social origin, determinants of international mobility of students and recent graduates are identified, drawing on a combination of the microeconomic human capital model as well as the job-search-theory. The analysis is based on the Bavarian Graduate Study (Bayerisches Absolventen Panel, BAP), a representative data base for a wide array of fields of study at Bavarian universities and universities of applied sciences. Methods of multilevel modeling are employed to identify individual differences in the spatial mobility propensities of students and young graduates. First, analyzing the determinants of international mobility of students revealed the following associations. The younger the students, the higher the likelihood to study abroad. This propensity is also positively associated with parents’ status. Apart from that, students from universities display a significantly higher migration propensity than students from universities of applied sciences. Second, considering differences in the emigration propensities after graduation, our results imply that the likelihood of working abroad is contingent on a high social origin, being a single, graduating at a lower age. Furthermore, migration experiences in the past and competencies in foreign languages show a positive impact. Consequently, international mobility both during the studies and upon entrance into the labor market is significantly influenced by the social origin. In addition to this direct effect, the higher likelihood of students and graduates with a favorable social background to experience mobility in early stages increases their propensity to go abroad again indirectly, too, as a mediator. The same holds true for the readiness to move for a job as indicated by the radius considered when searching for a job. As a result, the range of opportunities resulting from the combined effects of a high social origin and previous migration experiences resembles a sophisticated mechanism contributing to the reproduction of social inequality.
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