Determinants of migration flows within the EU
March 20, 2018
This literature review of work package 3 provides an overview of the existing empirical literature that helps understand the factors and considerations driving mobility within the European Union.
First, cross-national studies are considered to grasp the overall picture; second, an in-depth analysis of five focus countries – Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, and Spain – is offered. Overall, the existing body of literature seems to suggest that the two most common reasons are labour and family-related. While this is true for both males and females, there appears to be a persisting traditional gender divide, with family being relatively more common for women, as labour is for males. People who have migrated in the past are more likely to migrate again, which underlines the relevance of shorter-term education mobility in long-term European migration. Other factors, common especially among EU15 movers, include motivations tied to lifestyle and personal enrichment.
The review process, which included nearly 200 studies, also allows the authors to note some general patterns and trends regarding the state of the literature. For example, the authors find that the existing empirical literature on intra-EU movements observes almost exclusively the movements of EU nationals (omitting onward movements of third country nationals), and has a strong focus on migration from EU12 to EU15 countries and labour migration. Emerging topics include the consideration of non-economic factors, as well as North-South and circular and return corridors directed towards EU12 countries.