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Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? What Drives the Self-Selection of Internal Migrants in Germany?

Author

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  • Terry Gregory

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  • Melanie Arntz
  • Florian Lehmer

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of internal migration in a context where wages tend to be rather inflexible at a regional scale so that regional labor demand shocks have a prolonged impact on employment rates. Regional income differentials, then, reflect both regional pay and employment differentials. In such a context, migrants tend to move to regions that best reward their skills in terms of both of these dimensions. As an extension to the Borjas framework, the paper thus hypothesizes that regions with a low employment inequality attract more unskilled workers compared to regions with unequal employment chances. By estimating a migration model for the average skill level of gross labor flows between 27 German regions, we find evidence in favor of this hypothesis. While rising employment inequality in a region raises the average skill level of an in-migrant, higher pay inequality in a region does not have a significant impact on the average skill level of its in-migrants. A higher employment inequality in Eastern as compared to Western Germany may, thus, be the missing link to explain the fact that East-West migrants tend to be rather unskilled.

Suggested Citation

  • Terry Gregory & Melanie Arntz & Florian Lehmer, 2011. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? What Drives the Self-Selection of Internal Migrants in Germany?," ERSA conference papers ersa11p972, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p972
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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa11/e110830aFinal00972.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benoit Dostie & Pierre Thomas Léger, 2006. "Self-selection in migration and returns to unobservable skills," Cahiers de recherche 06-01, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    2. Gary L. Hunt & Richard E. Mueller, 2004. "North American Migration: Returns to Skill, Border Effects, and Mobility Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 988-1007, November.
    3. Herbert Brücker & Parvati Trübswetter, 2007. "Do the best go west? An analysis of the self-selection of employed East-West migrants in Germany," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 371-395, September.
    4. Borjas, George J. & Bronars, Stephen G. & Trejo, Stephen J., 1992. "Self-selection and internal migration in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-185, September.
    5. Johannes Gernandt & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2008. "Wage Convergence and Inequality after Unification: (East) Germany in Transition," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 107, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Ravi Kanbur & Hillel Rapoport, 2005. "Migration selectivity and the evolution of spatial inequality," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 43-57, January.
    7. Melanie Arntz, 2010. "What Attracts Human Capital? Understanding the Skill Composition of Interregional Job Matches in Germany," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 423-441.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    9. Ugo Fratesi & Massimiliano Riggi, 2004. "Migration and Regional Disparities: the Role of Skill Biased Flows," Urban/Regional 0407004, EconWPA.
    10. Ashok Parikh & Michiel Van Leuvensteijn, 2002. "Internal Migration in Regions of Germany: A Panel Data Analysis," Economics Working Papers 012, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Mahlstedt, Robert, 2017. "The return to labor market mobility: An evaluation of relocation assistance for the unemployed," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 136-151.
    2. Matthias Wrede, 2015. "Akzeptanz der Förderung gleichwertiger Lebensverhältnisse und Arbeitsbedingungen," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(1), pages 103-119, February.
    3. Caliendo, Marco & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hennecke, Juliane & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2015. "Job Search, Locus of Control, and Internal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 9600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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