Kahanec: Immigrants helped the EU adjust during the Great Recession

October 24, 2017

A recent journal article "How immigrants helped EU labor markets to adjust during the Great Recession" by SPP's Professor Martin Kahanec, published in the International Journal of Manpower, provides convincing evidence that immigrants in the EU respond to labor shortages more flexibly than the natives, and by doing so help Europe to adjust during times of economic turmoil.

According to the authors "immigrants have responded to changing labor shortages across EU member states, occupations and sectors at least as much and in many cases more flexibly than natives. This effect is especially significant for low-skilled immigrants from the new member states or with the medium number of years since migration, as well as with high-skilled immigrants with relatively few (one to five) or many (11+) years since migration. The relative responsiveness of some immigrant groups declined during the crisis years (those from Europe outside the EU or with 11 or more years since migration), whereas other groups of immigrants became particularly fluid during the Great Recession, such as those from new member states."

The analysis is primarily based on the EU Labor Force Survey and EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions.

The article was published within a journal special issue "Labor adjustment in the European economic area during the Great Recession" , co-edited by Kahanec.

"The overall result is that immigrants grease the wheels of adjustment during times of asymmetric economic shocks. This supports the case for free movement of workers within the EU and a well-designed, open and predictable migration policy towards non-EU citizens." concludes Kahanec.

Martin Kahanec, Martin Guzi, (2017) "How immigrants helped EU labor markets to adjust during the Great Recession", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 38 Issue: 7, pp.996-1015