The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of temporary migration on the upward occupational mobility by using a novel database from Estonia.
The authors use a unique data set of the online job search portal of Estonia that includes thousands of employees with foreign work experience. The authors study whether the presence of temporary migration in ones working career is associated with upward movement in the occupational ladder, defined either in terms of wages or required human capital.
The authors did not find any positive effect of temporary migration on upward occupational mobility and in case of females the effect was negative. The results could be related to the short-term nature of migration and the occupational downshifting abroad as well as the functioning of home country labour market.
While the uniqueness of the data set is of value, one needs to acknowledge its weaknesses: the job-seekers work histories are self-reported and the authors do not know what information was left out as undesired by applicant.
The findings imply that the benefits of temporary migration from Eastern to Western Europe on the sending country via the returnees’ labour market performance might be limited, yet it does not exclude the benefits of return migration through other mechanism.
The literature on return migration is not big and there are only a few papers dealing with occupational change or mobility of the return migrants. Compared to earlier studies we have looked at wider set of occupations ranked by different ladders. Using the unique data set the authors have included in the study ca 7,500 return migrants while earlier studies have been based on rather small samples.
JEL Classifications — F22, J62
The authors are grateful for comments and suggestions by two anonymous referees and seminar participants at the University of Tartu, University College London, University of the West of Scotland and the Ifo Institute. The authors are grateful to CV-Keskus for granting access to the data used in the paper. The authors thank Kärt Rõigas for excellent research assistance. The authors also thank Mihkel Reispass from Statistics Estonia for coding the data on occupations. Financial support from the Government Office of the Republic of Estonia project No. 1.5.0109.10-006 “Occupational mobility in Estonia – involved factors and effects”, the Estonian Science Foundation grant No. 8311, Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia target financed project No. SF0180037s08 and Estonian Research Agency project No. IUT20-49 “Structural Change as the Factor of Productivity Growth in the Case of Catching up Economies” are gratefully acknowledged. The authors take the sole responsibility for all errors and omissions.
Masso, J., Eamets, R. and Mõtsmees, P. (2014), "Temporary migrants and occupational mobility: evidence from the case of Estonia", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 753-775. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-06-2013-0138Download as .RIS
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