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How do regional labor markets adjust to immigration? A dynamic analysis for post-war Germany

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  • Braun, Sebastian
  • Weber, Henning

Abstract

We draw on two decades of historical data to analyze how regional labor markets in West Germany adjusted to one of the largest forced population movements in history, the mass inflow of eight million German expellees after World War II. The expellee inflow was distributed very asymmetrically across two West German regions. A dynamic two-region search and matching model of unemployment, which is exposed to the asymmetric expellee inflow, closely fits historical data on the regional unemployment differential and the regional migration rate. Both variables increase dramatically after the inflow and decline only gradually over the next decade. We show that despite the large and long-lasting dynamics following the expellee inflow, native workers experience only a modest loss in expected discounted lifetime labor income of 1.38%. Per-period losses in native labor income, however, are up to four times as large. The magnitude of income losses also depends on the initial location and labor market status of native workers. In counterfactual analyses, we furthermore show that economic policy interventions that affect the nature of the immigration inflow can effectively reduce native income losses and dampen adjustment dynamics in regional labor markets. One such intervention is to distribute the inflow more evenly over time. Smaller immigration inflows, similar in magnitude to the refugee inflow that Germany is experiencing today, also reduce native income losses markedly but decrease the duration of labor market adjustment only modestly.

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  • Braun, Sebastian & Weber, Henning, 2016. "How do regional labor markets adjust to immigration? A dynamic analysis for post-war Germany," Kiel Working Papers 2025, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:2025
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    Cited by:

    1. Stähler, Nikolai, 2017. "A model-based analysis of the macroeconomic impact of the refugee migration to Germany," Discussion Papers 05/2017, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    2. Anthony Edo, 2017. "The Impact of Immigration on Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Algerian Independence War," CESifo Working Paper Series 6595, CESifo.
    3. Verme, Paolo & Schuettler, Kirsten, 2021. "The impact of forced displacement on host communities: A review of the empirical literature in economics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    4. Kilian Huber, 2021. "Are Bigger Banks Better? Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(7), pages 2023-2066.
    5. Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja, 2017. "The local environment shapes refugee integration: Evidence from post-war Germany," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 10-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    6. Sebastian Till Braun & Anica Kramer & Michael Kvasnicka, 2017. "Local Labor Markets and the Persistence of Population Shocks," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201715, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
    7. Hart, Janine & Clemens, Marius, 2019. "A search and matching approach to business-cycle migration in the euro area," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203659, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Jaeger, David A & Ruist, Joakim & Stuhler, Jan, 2018. "Shift-Share Instruments and the Impact of Immigration," CEPR Discussion Papers 12701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Francesco Furlanetto & Orjan Robstad, 2019. "Immigration and the macroeconomy: some new empirical evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 1-19, October.
    10. Lozej, Matija, 2019. "Economic migration and business cycles in a small open economy with matching frictions," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 604-620.
    11. Francesco Furlanetto & Orjan Robstad, 2019. "Immigration and the macroeconomy: some new empirical evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 1-19, October.
    12. Stöhr, Tobias & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2016. "Openness to Concerns of Host Country Population Improves Attitudes Towards Immigrants," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145574, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Ikhenaode, Bright Isaac & Parello, Carmelo Pierpaolo, 2020. "Immigration and remittances in a two-country model of growth with labor market frictions," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 675-692.
    14. Michael Wyrwich, 2018. "Migration restrictions and long-term regional development: evidence from large-scale expulsions of Germans after World War II," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-002, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    15. Braun, Sebastian T. & Dwenger, Nadja, 2020. "Settlement location shapes the integration of forced migrants: Evidence from post-war Germany⁎," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).

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    Keywords

    Immigration; labor market adjustments; dynamic search and matching model of unemployment; asymmetric labor supply shock; post-war Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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