Labour Mobility of Foreigners and the Role of Ethnic Networks in Germany
Institute for Employment Research and University Erlangen-Nuremberg, School of Business and Economics Graduate Programme Nuremberg, Germany
This paper aims to investigate differences in the mobility behaviour of foreign men in Germany in contrast to German employees. Hereby, the influence of ethnic networks is of main interest. Ethnic networks allow for the use of homeland specific resources such as language and culture. But embeddedness in ethnic networks may hinder structural assimilation (e.g. labour market integration) by potentially leading to ethnic economies with low mobility rates.
Beside further socio-economic factors (e.g. regional unemployment rate, urbanisation, firm size) individual characteristics such as age and endowment with human capital as well as unemployment duration are considered. Unemployment is one of the main driving forces of regional mobility. Hence, this investigation combines the micro perspective with the opportunities and constraints on the macro level. The analysis is based on the value-expectation theory of migration enabling to include the objective conditions of the situation with the individual perception of it.
For the analysis a detailed micro-dataset, the IABS-04, is employed which includes very reliable information at individual and firm level, aiming at describing which factors drive mobility. It can be shown that foreigners are more mobile than Germans. Looking at different groups of nationals, Turks and people from former Yugoslavia are more mobile while people from EU-countries are not. Generally, this can be traced back to a higher willingness for mobility of young workers as well as to the higher likelihood of being unemployed for both groups. But considering these factors in a multivariate approach the propensity of mobility remain significantly higher upon including network characteristics.
Although the mobility restraining forces of networks are a well known fact in mobility research, it seems that ethnic networks are even more impeding. This mobility barrier may cause a lower speed of structural assimilation leading to persistent ethnic penalties.