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Social Networks in Determining Migration and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the German Reunification

  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler

This paper empirically examines social network explanations for migration decisions in the context of the German reunification. Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we first show that the presence of family and friends in West Germany is an important predictor for the migration hazard rate of East Germans. We then explore whether pre-migration networks have a discernible impact on the economic and social assimilation of East German immigrants in West Germany. We find that East German immigrants are more likely to be employed, and to hold higher-paying jobs, when socially connected to the West prior to emigrating. East Germans immigrants with pre-migration networks also appear to be more integrated into their Western host communities than movers without preexisting social ties.

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File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_crieff/papers/dp0811.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm in its series CRIEFF Discussion Papers with number 0811.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:san:crieff:0811
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Web page: http://crieff.wordpress.com/

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  1. Jörg Decressin, 1994. "Internal migration in West Germany and implications for East-West salary convergence," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 231-257, June.
  2. Burda, Michael C., 1993. "The determinants of East-West German migration: Some first results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 452-461, April.
  3. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Burda, Michael C. & Härdle, Wolfgang & Müller, Marlene & Werwatz, Axel, 1997. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: Facts and theory," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,3, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," Working Papers 9903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  6. Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Post-Unification Wage Growth in East Germany," NBER Working Papers 6878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2009. "Unemployment Insurance in Europe: Unemployment Duration and Subsequent Employment Stability," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1225-1260, December.
  8. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
  9. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  10. Jennifer Hunt, 1997. "The Transition in East Germany: When is a Ten Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 156, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Stephen P. Jenkins & Carlos GarcÌa-Serrano, 2004. "The Relationship between Unemployment Benefits and Re-employment Probabilities: Evidence from Spain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(2), pages 239-260, 05.
  13. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
  14. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, 09.
  15. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  16. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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