Pay and Unemployment Determinants of Migration Flows in the European Union

24 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2022

See all articles by António Afonso

António Afonso

ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

José Alves

University of Lisbon

Krzysztof Beck

Lazarski University

Date Written: 2022


We analyze the migration drivers within the European Union countries. For a set of 23 EU countries over the 1995-2019 period, we use Bayesian Model Averaging and quantile regression to assess notably the relevance of unemployment and earnings. We find that the existence of a common border increases the number of net migrants by 172 people per 1000 inhabitants. In addition, 1000 PPP Euro increase in the difference in net annual salaries increases net migration by approximately 50 and 42 people per 1000 inhabitants in a working age of both countries under uniform and binomial-beta model prior, respectively. Moreover, one percentage point increase in the difference in the unemployment rate is associated with an increase in net immigration by approximately 6 and 3 persons by 1000 inhabitants in both countries. These results are also corroborated with the quantile regression results. Hence, human capital inside the EU is moving in search of higher cross-country earnings.

Keywords: migration flows, earnings, unemployment, Bayesian Model Averaging, quantile regression, EU

JEL Classification: J610, J620, E240, F150, F220

Suggested Citation

Afonso, António and Alves, José and Beck, Krzysztof, Pay and Unemployment Determinants of Migration Flows in the European Union (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 10131, Available at SSRN: or

António Afonso (Contact Author)

ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa ( email )


José Alves

University of Lisbon ( email )

R. Branca Edmée Marques
Dept. Plant Biology
Lisboa, 1600-276

Krzysztof Beck

Lazarski University ( email )

Świeradowska 43 Warszawa
Warsaw, 02-662

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