Returns to migration, education and externalities in the European Union


  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose,

    1. Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE, UK; and IMDEA Social Sciences, Madrid, Spain (e-mail:
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      The authors are grateful to the editors of this special issue, three anonymous referees, Rickard Sandell and participants at a conference in Milan – and in particular Marlon Boarnet and Giordano Mion – for their comments to earlier versions of this paper. They would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship and of the PROCIUDAD-CM programme. The paper is also part of the research programme of the independent UK Spatial Economics Research Centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Communities and Local Government and the Welsh Assembly Government. The support of these funders is acknowledged. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funders.

  • Vassilis Tselios

    1. Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK; and Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics, UK (e-mail:
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This paper uses microeconomic data for more than 100,000 European individuals in order to analyse whether the individual economic returns to education vary between migrants and non-migrants and whether any differences in earnings between these two groups are affected by household and/or geographical (regional and interregional) externalities. The results point out that while education is a fundamental determinant of earnings, European labour markets do not discriminate in the returns to education between migrants and non-migrants. Household, regional and supra-regional externalities influence the economic returns to education in a similar way for local, intranational and supra-national migrants. The results are robust to the introduction of a large number of individual, household and regional controls.


Este artículo utiliza datos macroeconómicos de más de 100,000 europeos para analizar si los retornos económicos individuales de la educación varían entre emigrantes y no emigrantes, y si cualquier posible diferencia salarial entre ambos grupos se ve afectada por externalidades, ya sean del núcleo familiar, geográficas (regionales e interregionales), o ambas. Los resultados indican que, mientras que la educación es un determinante fundamental del salario, los mercados laborales europeos no discriminan entre emigrantes y no emigrantes en cuanto a los retornos a la educación. Las externalidades del núcleo familiar, regionales y suprarregionales influyen de manera similar en los retornos a la educación para emigrantes locales, nacionales, y supranacionales. Los resultados presentan robustez respecto a la introducción de un número elevado de controles en cuanto a individuos, núcleos familiares y controles regionales.

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