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Linguistic distance, networks and migrants' regional location choice

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  • Bredtmann, Julia
  • Nowotny, Klaus
  • Otten, Sebastian

Abstract

This paper analyzes the interaction between migrant networks and linguistic distance in the location choice of migrants to the EU at the regional level. We test the hypothesis that networks and the ability to communicate in the host country language, proxied by linguistic distance, are substitutes in the location decision. Based on individual level data from a special evaluation of the European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) and a random utility maximization framework, we find that networks have a positive effect on the location decisions while the effect of linguistic distance is negative. We also find a strong positive interaction effect between the two factors: networks are more important the larger the linguistic distance between the home country and the host region, and the negative effect of linguistic distance is smaller the larger the network size. In several extensions and robustness checks, we show that this substitutable relationship is extremely robust.

Suggested Citation

  • Bredtmann, Julia & Nowotny, Klaus & Otten, Sebastian, 2017. "Linguistic distance, networks and migrants' regional location choice," Ruhr Economic Papers 725, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:725
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2020. "The Economics of Language," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(2), pages 348-404, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Location choice; ethnic networks; linguistic distance; EU migration; multilateral resistance;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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