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Open Borders in the European Union and Beyond: Migration Flows and Labor Market Implications

Listed author(s):
  • John Kennan

In 2004, the European Union admitted 10 new countries, and wages in these countries were generally well below the levels in the existing member countries. Citizens of these newly-admitted countries were subsequently free to take jobs anywhere in the EU, and many did so. In 2015, a large number of refugees from Syria and other broken countries sought to migrate to EU countries (along very dangerous routes), and these refugees were met with fierce resistance, at least in some places. This paper seeks to understand the labor market implications of allowing free migration across borders, with particular reference to the EU. The aim is to quantify the migration flows associated with EU enlargement, and to analyze the extent to which these flows affected equilibrium wages. The main conclusion is that the real wage effects are small, and the gains from open borders are large.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23048.

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Date of creation: Jan 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23048
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Kjetil Storesletten, 2000. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy through Immigration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 300-323, April.
  2. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
  3. Klein Paul & Ventura Gustavo J, 2007. "TFP Differences and the Aggregate Effects of Labor Mobility in the Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, May.
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