Social Capital and Migration Preferences - An Empirical Analysis for the Case of the Reunified Germany

We focus on the relevance of different types of social capital on migration intentions in the context of shrinking regions. On the one hand, formal social capital characterised by weak ties without local roots is supposed to drive selectivity and outmigration. On the other hand, informal social capital stressing strong ties to friends, relatives or neighbours might hinder migration. In our regression results we do not find an effect of shrinking regions on mobility intentions. Thus, living in a shrinking area is by itself not a reason to move away or to invest less in social capital. However, if an individual considers to move away she reduces her participation in informal and formal networks. Individuals characterised by strong informal ties, i.e. strong relationships to friends, rel atives or neighbours show a significantly lower probability of moving away. And, more qualified types of social capital as participation in local politics or initiatives seem to encourage spatial mobility.

15. July 2013

Authors Peter Bönisch Lutz Schneider Walter Hyll

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