Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 531–553 | Cite as

Does emigration benefit the stayers? Evidence from EU enlargement

  • Benjamin ElsnerEmail author
Original Article


Around 9 % of the Lithuanian workforce emigrated to Western Europe after the enlargement of the European Union in 2004. I exploit this emigration wave to study the effect of emigration on wages in the sending country. Using household data from Lithuania and work permit and census data from the UK and Ireland, I demonstrate that emigration had a significant positive effect on the wages of stayers. A one-percentage-point increase in the emigration rate predicts a 0.67 % increase in real wages. This effect, however, is only statistically significant for men.


Emigration EU enlargement Labor mobility 



I am grateful to Gaia Narciso for all her support and encouragement. I would also like to thank the editor, three anonymous referees, Catia Batista, Karol Borowiecki, John FitzGerald, Ulrich Gunter, Julia Anna Matz, Corina Miller, Mrdjan Mladjan, Alfredo Paloyo, Todd Sorensen, Pedro Vicente, and Michael Wycherley, as well as the seminar participants at the 6th ISNE conference in Limerick/IE, the 3rd RGS doctoral conference in Bochum/GER, the 24th Irish Economic Association annual conference in Belfast/UK, and the TCD Development Working Group for helpful comments. The Lithuanian and Irish Statistical Offices were very helpful in providing the data. The author gratefully acknowledges funding from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences and the Department of Economics at Trinity College Dublin. The paper has been accepted before the author took up a research position at IZA.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)BonnGermany

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