Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM)

BIM Working Papers

The BIM Working Paper Series publishes contributions of BIM researchers and takes two forms: (1) pre-prints of work to be submitted to academic journals, and (2) green open access, that is author versions of articles that have been published but are not freely accessible. Pre-prints undergo a peer-review process. The series is edited by Zerrin Salikutluk and Christian Hunkler.


Abstract 🖉

The so-called ‘Welfare Magnet Hypothesis‘ (WMH) suggests that the generosity of welfare institutions in destination countries acts as a pull factor for migration. However, evidence for this claim is mixed. Existing research focuses on the conditions in destination countries, but less on explanatory factors in origin countries. Specifically, migration is analyzed mainly from the perspective of OECD countries as potential destinations, rather than from a global perspective, and research often ignores that migration flows are not mutually independent, which can lead to an overestimation of the effects of welfare spending. We explicitly address these shortcomings by using Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs) to model migration flows between 160 countries worldwide and treating indicators of welfare spending in origin and destination countries as main explanatory variables of interest. Our first main result is that welfare attraction effects almost completely vanish when we control for a broad range of explanatory variables suggested by the gravity model (GDP, population size, geographic distance, democracy levels, and common languages). Secondly, migration preferences of low- and high-income groups do not mediate any attraction effects of social spending, as predicted by the WMH. Thirdly, flows between countries with more similar spending levels are more likely than flows between very low and very high spending countries, supporting a status maintenance motive among migrants. In conclusion, we find insufficient evidence to maintain the idea that welfare spending has a meaningful impact on migration flows.


Abstract 🖉

In the last years, the labor market integration of immigrant women has received much attention in the migration literature. We examine gender differences in labor market integration among refugees and other new immigrants who came to Germany during a similar period from a dynamic perspective. Using two panel data sources, which include recently arrived refugees (the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Sample of Refugees) and other immigrants (the IAB-SOEP Migration Sample) in Germany, we compare the dynamics and sources of employment gender gap among refugees and other immigrants. The results uncover narrow initial gender differences among refugees that grow over time and a reversed pattern among other immigrants. However, female refugees’ initial disadvantaged starting position maintains five years after arrival. Furthermore, our findings indicate that the explanations offered in the literature cannot fully explain the hurdles female refugees and other immigrants face when entering the labor market.




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