Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Who Stays, Who Goes, Who Returns? East-West Migration within Germany since Reunification

Volume: 17
Number: 4
Pages: 703 - 738
Month: October
ISSN-Print: 0967-0750
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2009
Keywords: Migration; Germany; Reunification; Temporary Migration
Abstract: We study the determinants of East–West migration within Germany during the period 1990–2006, using administrative data, the German Microcensus and the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find that in addition to income prospects and employment status, two well-known determinants of migration, psychological and social factors play an important role in determining the migration decision. Men and women move from East to West in proportionate numbers, but among individuals who lived in the East in 1989 women are more likely to migrate. The migrant body in the second wave of migration, starting in the late 1990s, is increasingly composed of young, educated people. By focusing on differences between temporary and permanent migrants, we find that older and single individuals are more likely to return East than stay permanently in the West, compared with younger and married individuals. Finally, the life satisfaction of permanent migrants increases significantly after a move, while that of temporary migrants remains essentially flat.