Lucinda Platt presents her paper 'Accounting for diversity in Polish migration in Europe' co-authored by Renee Luthra & Justyna Salamonska in Parallel session VI(B) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sept 2013
Research on the decision to migrate overwhelmingly draws from neo-classical and revised economic models of international flows, in which individuals and their families choose migration strategies to maximize and diversify their incomes (Borjas, 1989)and reduce their exposure to financial risks (Taylor, 1999, Stark and Bloom, 1985). Yet these models do little to explain the large amount of remaining variation in the type and size of migration flows across receiving countries after the costs and benefits of migration are accounted for. We also know relatively little about how non-economic determinants of migration impact the integration process of new immigrants in the destination country.
This paper examines cross-national variation in the non-economic motivations and early integration of Polish immigrants to four Western Europe destinations: the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. We rely on a unique new data set that contains standardized measures of pre-migration and post-migration characteristics among recent Polish migrants in all four countries, enhancing comparability and sample size and reducing return-migration selection bias. Focusing only on Poles allows us to control for many economic confounders in the relationship between non-economic migration determinants and social and economic integration, because the legal and financial costs of migration from Poland to Western Europe, as well as the potential wage returns, are fairly uniform across destination countries. Despite this seeming interchangeability, we show considerable variation in the size and socioeconomic characteristics of Polish migration flows to these four countries. We link this variation to differences in the migration motives, pre-migration social networks, and settlement intentions. Furthermore, we show that these non-economic variables exert a significant impact on early socioeconomic integration in the destination countries, influencing the likelihood of unemployment as well as occupational status and subjective life satisfaction of Polish immigrants within the first 18 months after arrival.