Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Main Determinants of Romanian Emigration. A Regional Perspective

Goschin, Zizi (2016): Main Determinants of Romanian Emigration. A Regional Perspective. Published in: Journal of Social and Economic Statistics No. Special number 2016 (2016): pp. 1-13.

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Statistical data reveal considerably higher emigration rates in certain regions of Romania, usually the less developed ones, marked by high unemployment and poverty rates. This suggests that a deeper understanding of Romanian out-migration patterns and the underlying factors of influence can be reached by investigating the phenomenon from a regional perspective. Consequently the paper explores the major causes of Romanian emigration using county level data from the last Census. We are testing some potential push factors, such as low development, small income and high unemployment. The average level of education by county is also considered by using two relevant variables: share of secondary education graduates, as well as university graduates, in stable population aged 10 years and over. We test for spatial dependence in the number of emigrants by county and estimate both classic OLS regression models and spatial models, namely spatial lag and spatial error models. In accordance with previous findings in the literature, our results point to the development level (captured by GDP per capita) as a negative factor of influence for emigration. This means that poorer counties provide more emigrants compared to the richer ones. Surprisingly, the characteristics of the regional labour market, reflected by average wage and unemployment rate, influence the emigration flows in opposite direction than expected. We explained this outcome in the context of highly significant impact of human capital, as we found stronger propensity towards emigration for the persons having higher skills and qualifications, which are seldom affected by unemployment and low income. To sum up, our empirical analysis points to well-educated people from poorer counties as the most likely emigrants. This result should raise awareness on the waste of human capital (“brain drain”) with long-lasting negative consequences for the Romanian society and economy.

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