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Human Capital, Market Imperfections, Poverty, and Migration: Evidence from Albania


  • Etleva Germenji
  • Johan Swinnen


The most dramatic recent immigration in Europe is the influx of more than 700,000 Albanians, about a quarter of the total Albanian workforce, in the 1990s. The vast majority migrated illegally. This paper analyses the determinants of Albanian migration based on a unique representative survey of rural households. The study confirms that migrants are mostly young, male, and single. Regional variations in migration reflect a combination of cultural and economic factors, including migration costs. However, we find that migrants do not come from the poorest rural households. Moreover, education has a positive, albeit non-linear, effect on the likelihood of migration. Migration is negatively related with household access to alternative income sources and reduced financial constraints but positively related with the presence and household's access to migration networks. Policy implications are that aid programs and government initiatives to invest in rural infrastructure and rural education may have mixed effects on migration. A key policy target to reduce migration should be the creation of non-farm rural employment and rural households?access to finance.

Suggested Citation

  • Etleva Germenji & Johan Swinnen, 2005. "Human Capital, Market Imperfections, Poverty, and Migration: Evidence from Albania," LICOS Discussion Papers 15705, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:15705

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Azzarri & Calogero Carletto & Benjamin Davis & Alberto Zazza, 2008. "Migration and Labour Choice in Albania," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 6(2), pages 169-196.

    More about this item


    Albania; migration; rural household;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General

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