Why are East Germans not More Mobile? Analyzing the Impact of Social Ties on Regional Migration
IWH Discussion Papers,
Individuals’ preferences in transition regions are still shaped by the former communist system. We test this ‘Communism legacy’ hypothesis by examining the impact of acculturation in a communist regime on social network participation and, as a consequence, on preferences for spatial mobility. We focus on the paradigmatic case of East Germany where mobility intentions seem to be substantially weaker than in the western part. Applying an IV ordered probit approach we firstly find that East German people acculturated in a Communist system are more invested in locally bounded informal social capital than West Germans. Secondly, we confirm that membership in such locally bounded social networks reduces the intention to move away. Thirdly, after controlling for the social network effect the mobility gap between East and West substantially reduces. Low spatial mobility of the eastern population, we conclude, is to an important part attributable to a social capital endowment characteristic to post-communist economies.
Immigration to East Germany: Last chance 2011
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Due to population ageing and shrinking Germany – particularly East Germany – experiences a demographic constellation causing remarkable economic and social problems. One option to cope with the demography based challenges is immigration. In a historical part the article firstly illustrates the history of immigration in Germany during the 20th century and concludes that substantial immigration initially occurred in the 1950th in the Western part of Germany when the so called “Gastarbeiter” were attracted to the West German labour market. Regions in East Germany, instead, show a rather low share of immigrants – a result of the GDR immigration policy that permitted only a low level of temporary migration.
However, prospects of success to stimulate immigration to East Germany seem to be rather limited. Firstly, since 2000 Germany as a whole faces reducing immigration numbers. Secondly, the low immigration experience and density of foreigners’ networks could torpedo existing immigration potentials. The sole opportunity for improving the migration balance seems to be the immigration from Central Eastern European regions. Spatial proximity might compensate for lacking migration incentives and initiate substantial migration flows towards East Germany. Yet, one should not have to high expectation regarding the dimension of immi-gration from Central Eastern Europe. Large parts of the migratory population already moved to other EU member states that implemented the Freedom of Movement for Workers immediately after 2004. Therefore, it seems to be crucial to stay away from every supplementary regulation that might discourage potential labour market migrants from Central East Europe after May 2011.