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Labour Market Status and Migration Dynamics

49 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2009  

Govert E. Bijwaard

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI); Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics


In this empirical paper we assess how labour market transitions and out- and repeated migration of immigrants are interrelated. We estimate a multi-state multiple spell competing risks model with four states: employed, unemployed receiving benefits, out-of-the-labour market (no benefits) and abroad. For the analysis we use data on recent labour immigrants to The Netherlands, which implies that all migrants are (self)-employed at the time of arrival. We find that many migrants leave the country after a period of no-income. Employment characteristics and the country of origin play an important role in explaining the dynamics. Microsimulations of synthetic cohorts reveal that many migrants experience unemployment spells, but ten years after arrival only a few are unemployed. Scenarios based on microsimulation indicate that the Credit Crunch will not only increase the unemployment among migrants but also departure from the country. Scenarios also indicate that an increase in the number of migrants from the EU accession countries will lead to higher labour market and migration dynamics. Finally, based on microsimulation we do not expect that the recent simplification of the entry of high income migrants will have a lasting effect, as many of those migrants leave fast.

Keywords: migration dynamics, labour market transitions, competing risks, immigrant assimilation

JEL Classification: F22, J61, C41

Suggested Citation

Bijwaard, Govert E., Labour Market Status and Migration Dynamics. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4530. Available at SSRN:

Govert Bijwaard (Contact Author)

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
+31 70 3565224 (Phone)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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