Labor Market Rights and Immigrant Flows within Europe: The Role of the State in Shaping Destination Choices

John Palmer, Princeton University

This article exploits a natural experiment that resulted from EU expansion to investigate the relationship between migrants' destination choices and the formal labor market access afforded by potential host countries. I use data on migration from new EU member states into the existing states of the EU and EFTA during 2005 and 2006 to test whether and to what extent migrants choose destinations in which they will have greater labor market rights over those in which they will have fewer. Using difference-in-differences estimates and a probabilistic choice model, I find that labor market access is positively associated with migration. Missing data makes it hard to determine whether this relationship holds once sending and receiving state economic indicators are modeled, but there is evidence that it does. In addressing these questions, the article contributes to our understanding of the role of the state in shaping migration patterns in a multi-destination world.

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Presented in Poster Session 1