Do we follow the money? The drivers of migration across regions in the EU


  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose Department of Geography and Environment London School of Economics
  • Tobias Ketterer Granthan Research Institute London School of Economics.
  • David Castells-Quintana Department of Applied Economics of the Univsersidad Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)



Inter-regional migration, mobility, regional economic growth, social networks, regions


Most immigration theories tend to highlight that migration follows wealth and economic dynamism, but is this also the case across regions in Europe? The aim of the paper is to investigate whether migrants in Europe indeed follow the money and to contrast this with a variety of potential alternative explanations, including the presence of migrants from a similar origin. The analysis is based on panel data estimations including 133 European regions over a time period of 17 years. Different lag structures have been employed in order to distinguish between short- and long-run effects. The results cast some doubt about the prominence of pecuniary factors as a determinant of cross regional migration in Europe, with little evidence to support the idea that migration follows economic dynamism. Network effects, human capital related-, and ‘territorially embedded’ innovation enhancing regional characteristics, by contrast, seem to play a much stronger role than hitherto considered. 

Author Biographies

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Department of Geography and Environment London School of Economics

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose is a Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics.

Tobias Ketterer, Granthan Research Institute London School of Economics.

Tobias Ketterer is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Granthan Research Institute of the London School of Economics.

David Castells-Quintana, Department of Applied Economics of the Univsersidad Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

David Castells-Quintana is currently Visiting Professor at the Department of Applied Economics of the Univsersidad Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)


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How to Cite

Rodríguez-Pose, A., Ketterer, T. and Castells-Quintana, D. (2015) “Do we follow the money? The drivers of migration across regions in the EU”, REGION, 2(2), pp. 27–45. doi: 10.18335/region.v2i2.15.




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