Migration and Human Capital in the Western Balkans

Client/Funding Institution

European Training Foundation (ETF)


The project looks at migration dynamics from a human capital perspective in the six Western Balkan countries which have experienced high and persistent emigration since the 1990s and, since the early 2000s, increasingly more skilled emigration. It studies the interrelationship between migration flows (with a specific attention to skilled migration), human capital formation and utilisation (linked to labour market dynamics). It aims to understand the causes of the extremely high outflows of labour (and skilled labour in particular) from the region as well as their effects, taking into account the absorptive capacity of local labour markets, possible mismatches between local educational and training structures and labour market needs and other economic and institutional contexts of the countries. It also examines how, for different scenarios, the continuation of migration trends could influence the skills pool and its utilisation in the future. The focus of the analysis is on the post-2010 period, with projections until 2030. In the course of the project, a novel cohort-based approach has been developed and applied to estimate the extent and skill composition of net-migration, which is unavailable from official home-based migration statistics for the six Western Balkan countries. The project’s output will include country fiches for each of the six WB countries with detailed policy recommendations, a regional synthetic report, and a number of quantitative statistical and econometric papers.


December 2019 - March 2021

wiiw team Leader

Michael Landesmann

wiiw Staff

Veronika Janyrova, Sandra M. Leitner, Isilda Mara, Hermine Vidovic


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Countries covered: SEE

Research Areas: Labour, Migration and Income Distribution