Posted by: Dirk | July 24, 2007

Eastern European migration to the EU – a trickle

The New Economist noted that migration from Bulgaria and Romania did not materialize as it was thought it would: ‘New Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics found that in the first three months after the two counties joined the Eurepean Union, there were only 9,305 applications for registration certificates.’ The UK has some restrictions on migration in place, but even without those the number of migrants seems pretty small.“Wenn es mit dem Arbeitskräftemangel in Deutschland so weitergeht, wäre es denkbar, die Beschränkungen für osteuropäische Arbeitnehmer schon vor dem Jahr 2009 aufzuheben”, sagte Arbeits-Staatssekretär Gerd Andres der Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung vom Dienstag.

Now that the debate reached Germany it will be interesting to see how the debate goes. It will probably be based on ideology, but maybe somebody can come up with numbers of migration from countries like Portugal and Spain for the period after they accessed the EU. That would make an interesting comparison.

Kevin O’Rourke (2004) found that historically migration followed an inverted-U shaped ‘life cycle’, first rising, the declining. The reason is that migration raises real wages in the source country. Fears of a flood of immigrants that never stops are out of place.

There was a similar debate last year in the US on the migration bill, which called for partial amnesty of illegal immigrants (see Posner’s blog here). In the end the issue boiled down to: Do immigrants lower wages of relatively uneducated workers? Some papers were published on this topic, maybe I post some links later.

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