Synergetic effects of the European Research: Results of the YMOBILITY project

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The presenation here presented is based on the previous slides from de colloquium from Brasov University (see original post here), adding other data from upcoming Deliverable 4.1.

Presentation at the pre-final meeting of ”Mapping mobility – pathways, institutions and structural effects of youth mobility” (MOVE), in Bucharest, Academy of Economic Sciences, November 23 2017

Dumitru Sandu, YMOBILITY team, University of Bucharest


The paper introduces results of the YMOBILITY research project by selecting key findings from a survey on 30 thousand young Europeans from nine countries and giving details on some strategies that could underlie migration policies. The first component of the presentation focuses on the social meaning of non-economic reasons for migration, in a comparative perspective. In order to understand these social meanings, one has to go beyond simple lists of non-economic reasons of migration to their clustering and to compare such clustering among countries of different levels of economic development and migration patterns. For example, why is lifestyle motivation for the first migration very high in two very different countries, with different development levels and migration patterns, such as Romania and Germany? The answer lies in the different patterns of associations among migration reasons in the two countries. A significant segment of young Romanians emigrate for an indefinite period of time because of two clusters of reasons: job&lifestyle (15%), and having networks abroad&lifestyle (27%). For the case of German youth, the two clusters of reasons are of low frequency in the national subsample (5% for the first pair and 8% for the second pair). But the German youth associate lifestyle reasons with ”escaping personal problems” as a reason (18%) in their decision for the first migration. The same combination of motives for Romanians is very low (8%).

The comparison leads to the hypothesis that lifestyle reasons of migration from rather poor emigration societies go together with economic motives of migration and in the developed immigration societies lifestyle reasons form a cluster with ”escaping personal problems” motives. This is just one example of how we can understand non-economic reasons through their clustering. The above mentioned hypothesis that resulted from a simple exploratory bivariate analysis is fully supported, especially for the Romanian case, by a much more complex multivariate (multinomial regression) analysis on the same YMOBILITY survey data. The challenging surprise is to notice that explaining the patterns of motivation for the first migration in the context of multivariate analysis brings forth an unexpected similarity between Romanian and Irish youth. Residence in these two countries only (among the countries in the survey) is associated with higher probabilities for lifestyle&job motives for the first migration, keeping under control a large array of other variables (gender, education, age community size, development level of NUTS 2 of residence etc.). It is difficult to say why this is the case. Further research is needed to explore this issue.

The second component in introducing the MOVE audience to some of the results of the YMOBILITY research, focused on objectives and specific means for strategies in optimising temporary emigration from the less developed emigration societies, with special reference to Romania. The delineation of strategic thinking for migration policies for the case of Romanian society started from noticing that the realistic target of migration policies in such societies is to optimize, not to sharply decrease migration. Optimizing here means to create institutional arrangements in order to promote an intra-European migration originating in emigration countries so that it is beneficial for both origin and destination countries, for both migrants and their families. A focus on circular (multiple-returns) migration could contribute to devising policies that are effective for optimizing migration. To the degree circular migration will be better institutionalised and with lower costs, it could contribute to reducing permanent or long time temporary emigration.

Another effect of such policies of increasing institutionalised circular migration would be the reduction of the psychological costs of integration in the host societies but also in the re-integration of returned migrants at home. The survey provides clear results indicating that the returned migrants in the emigration countries are especially dissatisfied with their life at home. For example, more returned migrants in Romania (about 70%) are dissatisfied with their life in Romania compared to any other category of youth in the same country (54% express dissatisfaction with life among the entire Romanian subsample). Some specifications of the conditions for better migration policies for the case of Romania were discussed: decentralising migration policy to the regional levels (which is difficult to accomplish as long as NUTS2 regions are not administrative units in Romania); organizing systematic surveys abroad on Romanian migrants and the diaspora in order to be able to understand the real challenges such policies will have to meet; developing the institutional channels of migration abroad in order to reduce the costs of migration; promoting institutional changes to allow skilled migrants abroad to find, after returning, similar jobs and social services conditions as those abroad.