The Effects of Structural Factors in Origin Countries on Migration: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe

IMI Working Papers, September 2011

38 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2011

See all articles by Lucia Mytna Kurekova

Lucia Mytna Kurekova

Slovak Governance Institute; Central European University

Date Written: September 23, 2011


This paper investigates the relationship between structural change, labour market imbalances and labour migration from the eight Central and Eastern European (CEE/EU8) economies during the transition and after their accession to the EU. The new accession states experienced markedly different migration patterns after 2004 enlargement which, given their similar wage differentials with the West, cannot be explained by the neoclassical framework. The paper deals with this puzzle by developing conceptual and empirical links between different transitional paths of CEE countries and varied migration rates. It argues that structural change that characterized their transition created different labour market imbalances across the CEE economies, hence creating different structures of employment and unemployment and varied risks and opportunities for workers of different demographic and skill profiles. These imbalances and labour market mismatches have in turn induced some workers to seek migration as an exit option more than others, and led to differences in migration rates and in the composition of migrants. In terms of theory, this paper contributes to literature which call for integrated approaches to researching migration that take into account social transformation, pointing out the limited ability of the neoclassical framework to understand migration patterns in their complexity.

Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, labour market imbalances, labour migration, structural change, skills, wage differentials

Suggested Citation

Mytna Kurekova, Lucia, The Effects of Structural Factors in Origin Countries on Migration: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe (September 23, 2011). IMI Working Papers, September 2011. Available at SSRN:

Lucia Mytna Kurekova (Contact Author)

Slovak Governance Institute ( email )

Gajova 4
Bratislava, 81109

Central European University ( email )

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051

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