October 2002

IZA DP No. 602: Migration in the Soviet Successor States

Lilo Locher

published in: Applied Economics Quarterly, 48 (1), 2002, 67-84

This paper analyzes the migration behavior of ethnic groups in the former Soviet Un-ion (FSU) from 1989 to 1999. The two main migration movements have been return migration of ethnic groups to their titular nation and migration of all ethnic groups to the Russian Federation. Using factor analysis, we are able to disentangle the effects of economic wealth, growth, and political reforms on migration behavior. Ethnic sorting is found to be the major determinant of migration, which can explain both return migration and migration to Russia. The emigration behavior of Jews and ethnic Germans is found to be very similar to the migration behavior of ethnic groups migrating within the FSU.