Intentions to migrate within the European Union: a challenge for simple economic macro-level explanations

Markus Hadler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Individual mobility within the European Union has remained rather low, in spite of large socio-economical differences and the lack of political restrictions for citizens of member states. Taking this as a starting point, this paper sets out to develop a more appropriate view by combing aspects of economic and sociological migration theories both at the macro and micro levels. For this purpose, the Eurobarometer survey 54.2 of 2001 is analysed by applying a three-level regression. Therefore, different characteristics of 15 European countries, 196 nuts-2-regions and about 7,000 respondents aged younger than 45 years are considered. Analyses show that the assumption of push-and-pull models - namely, that people leave less developed places - applies only within countries. In fact, the highest migration intentions can be observed in regions with a developmental gap compared to the overall level of a country. But between countries, the effect is quite the opposite - the highest intentions can be found in highly developed countries. However, the explanatory power of macro-level variables is rather low compared to that of individual characteristics. Therefore, research should place more emphasis on individual characteristics, to estimate a migration potential more accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-140
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Societies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


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