Interregional migration within the European Union in the aftermath of the Eastern enlargements: a spatial approach

14  January 2016    4:00 pm

Sascha Sardadvar, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)

In cooperation with:
Research Centre International Economics (FIW) 


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, lecture hall (ground floor)


This paper investigates interregional migration on a pan-EU level for the era immediately following the accession of new member states with relatively low income levels. It is shown that it is possible to account for spatial effects of interregional migration despite the lack of data on region-to-region migration flows. In the paper, a spatial model framework of interregional migration is developed that corresponds to a spatial lag of X model or, by inclusion of a spatial autocorrelation term, a spatial Durbin error model. The framework shows that within a system, a linear model of  migration inevitably result in a function of net-migration which is based on a column-standardised weight matrix. A region’s migration level is assumed to be simultaneously affected by determinants at home as well as in other regions, where the latter’s influences decrease with distance. The specifications are subsequently applied to data on net-migration rates in 250 European NUTS2 regions over the period 2006–2008. The empirical results reveal a robust association between a region’s net-migration rate and its relative location in space. Moreover, migration is driven by income opportunities, labour market conditions, economic growth, human capital endowments as well as temporarily imposed restrictions on the freedom of movement of workers.

Keywords: Interregional migration, Enlarged EU, Spatial econometrics, Column-standardised weight matrix

JEL classification: J61, R23, C21