Remigration of Employees to Eastern Germany

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW2.1.04 (Tower Two)
Dieter Bogai, Institute for Employment Research, Berlin, Germany
Holger Seibert, Scientific staff, Berlin, Germany
Mirko Wesling, Scientific staff, Berlin, Germany
For a long time the Eastern German labor market was characterized by high unemployment and a massive exodus of the working population. Recently, the labor market improved and there is already a lack of qualified workers in certain regions and occupations. Therefore the recruitment of former East German emigrants to Western Germany could be a strategy for firms and intermediates to fill shortages of qualified workers. Home regions of former emigrants are probably most addressed because it is more likely to return due to emotional ties.

In this study the first step is to identify remigrants from the IAB employment history data and fix time horizons for analysis. We choose data from 1999 to 2006 for emigrant cohorts and observe remigration until 2009. The calculation of emigration and remigration rates respectively shows significant variance between the Eastern German districts. Surprisingly also the likelihood to remigrate is dependent on the German state to where the East Germans had emigrated. This gives evidence for different integration conditions of East Germans in Western Germany. Additionally we find differences between socioeconomic groups with respect to age, sex, and qualification level. Furthermore we have developed a relative remigration deviation ratio to evaluate the remigration performance in contrast to the East German average.

We find remarkable differences in the remigration likelihood between East German states with Thuringia revealing the highest ratio and Brandenburg the lowest. The remigration probabilities of East German regions are dependent on the composition of emigrant cohorts. In order to compare the regional remigration outcomes it is necessary to incorporate the compositional differences in a relative remigration divergence ratio. Based on that conception we find reasons for the differences of remigration ratios based on period of emigration, age, sex and qualification of migrants for the investigated regions.

The study is the first one that reveals insights to the relative magnitude of remigration and structural aspects of workers for Eastern Germany. We can show that remigration is in fact targeted to the home regions of emigrants. The assessment of the remigration occurrence combines emigration pressure and success in regaining parts of the labor force for Eastern German regions. The regional picture of this indicator shows remarkable differences between regions depending on their localization and economic performance. Finally we can show that remigration has rather limited effects on the overall Eastern German labor market but it yield important gains in regaining high qualified employees for firms in remote areas.