Skip to main content

Migration Network of the European Union: Quantifying the Effects of Linguistic Frictions

  • 397 Accesses

Part of the New Economic Windows book series (NEW)


Immobility puzzle in the European Union (EU) takes the form of observed level of migration within the EU being substantially less than what is expected in a union allowing free labor mobility. We use a dynamic general equilibrium model of migration in a multi-region setting with heterogeneity in sectoral compositions, productivity and endowments of productive inputs, to construct a flow network of migrants (Chakrabarti and Sengupta, Econ. Model. 61:156–168 (2017)) ([7], Economic Modelling). When tested on the US data which we consider to be a benchmark for institutional homogeneity compared to Europe, this model explains substantial part of the variation in both the nominal and relative flows of state-to-state migration under suitable calibration. On the other hand, this model explains the relative flow network of the EU well but predicts a higher nominal flow than is seen in the data, thus illustrating and quantifying the puzzle. Following the hypothesis that institutional heterogeneity across the EU countries induces frictions on such labor reallocation process, we use dyadic regression to analyze the effects of pair-wise institutional distances which capture a broad spectrum of socio-cultural and political differences between countries, on the estimated missing mass of migrants. Linguistic differences appear to be the key factor explaining the missing mass of migrants.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-11364-3_7
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-11364-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 7.1
Fig. 7.2
Fig. 7.3
Fig. 7.4
Fig. 7.5


  1. 1.

    We are, of course, not considering forced migration due to political and social instability like the Syrian crisis.


  1. Adsera, A., Pytlikova, M.: The role of language in shaping international migration. Econ. J. 125, 49–81 (2015)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  2. Belot, M., Ederveen, S.: Cultural barriers in migration between OECD countries. J. Popul. Econ. 25, 1077–1105 (2012)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  3. Bertoli, S., Moraga, J.F., Ortega, F.: Crossing the border: self-selection, earnings and individual migration decisions. J. Dev. Econ. 101, 75–91 (2013)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Braunerhjelm, P., Faini, R., Norman, V., Ruane, F., Seabright, P.: Monitoring European Integration, vol. 10. CEPR, London (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Caliendo, L., Parro, F., Rossi-Hansberg, E., Sarte, P.G.: The impact of regional and sectoral productivity changes on the U.S. economy. In: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Working paper, pp. 13–14 (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  6. CEPII (2006).

  7. Chakrabarti, A.S., Sengupta, A.: Productivity differences and inter-state migration in the U.S.A multilateral gravity approach. Econ. Model. 61, 156–168 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Ethnologue (2014).

  9. Europa, E.U (2014).

  10. Eurostat (2014).

  11. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., Minkov, M.: Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. McGraw-Hill, USA, (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Kaplan, Z.: The eu’s internal market and the free movement of labor: Economic effects and challenges. In: Handbook of Research on Unemployment and Labor Market Sustainability in the Era of Globalization. IGI Global (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kennan, J., Walker, J.R.: The effect of expected income on individual migration decisions. Econometrica 79(1), 211–251 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  14. OECD (2014).

  15. Penn World Table (2014).

  16. The Maddison-Project (2013).

  17. World Bank Reports (2011).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Aparna Sengupta .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Sengupta, A., Chakrabarti, A.S. (2019). Migration Network of the European Union: Quantifying the Effects of Linguistic Frictions. In: Abergel, F., Chakrabarti, B., Chakraborti, A., Deo, N., Sharma, K. (eds) New Perspectives and Challenges in Econophysics and Sociophysics. New Economic Windows. Springer, Cham.

Download citation