51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
Migrants are among the groups most vulnerable to economic fluctuations. As predicted by the 'welfare magnet' hypothesis, migrants can therefore be expected to--ceteris paribus--prefer countries with more generous welfare provisions to insure themselves against labor market risks. This paper analyzes the role of the welfare magnet hypothesis for migrants to the EU-15 at the regional level. The empirical analysis based on a random parameters logit model shows that the regional location decisions of migrants are mostly governed by income opportunities, labor market conditions, ethnic networks and a common language. There is no strong evidence for the welfare magnet hypothesis in the EU, but the empirical model shows that the design of the (income) tax system has a large and consistent effect on locational choice.