November 1999

IZA DP No. 68: Ethnic German Immigration from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to Germany: the Effects of Migrant Networks

This paper employed a widely accepted theoretical concept, the ‘theory of migrant networks’ to look at the recent immigration and absorption experience of ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in Germany. Consistent with network theory, the social background of the Aussiedler group became more representative of the sending communities as migrant networks expanded. The paper additionally showed that Aussiedler tended to participate in migrant networks after they have moved to Germany. Whereas all studies on the economic effects of migrant networks found a positive impact on the labor market performance of ethnic Germans, the outcome of network participation with respect to social absorption is less encouraging. In recent years migrant networks seem to support ethnic German minority enclaves and an increasing segregation of the Aussiedler group.