The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 139–159 | Cite as

Foreigners versus natives in Spain: different migration patterns? Any changes in the aftermath of the crisis?

  • María Gutiérrez-PortillaEmail author
  • Adolfo Maza
  • María Hierro
Original Paper


The main aim of this study, which takes Spanish provinces over the periods 2004–2007 and 2008–2013 as case study, is threefold: first, to test whether labor factors affect to a greater extent foreigners than natives when it comes to migrating; second, to detect changes in migration patterns over the crisis period; third, to unveil nonlinearities in the relationship between migration and wages. To do so, an extended gravity model, combined with a methodology that identifies endogenous thresholds to nonlinear effects, is estimated. The results support that the role played by labor factors is more important for foreigners than natives, especially before the outbreak of the economic crisis. The results also indicate that the relative size of the service sector and, to a lesser extent, climate conditions have gained importance as attraction factors for natives over the crisis, while the opposite happens for foreigners. Therefore, evidence clearly supports the idea that business cycle modifies the decision making of migrants. Finally, some nonlinearities in the effect of expected wages on migration are found regardless of the group and/or time frame considered.

JEL Classification

R23 O15 C23 C24 



The authors thank Professor José Villaverde for his helpful comments. The first author also would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports for its financial support (FPU14/00900 Scholarship).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Gutiérrez-Portilla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adolfo Maza
    • 1
  • María Hierro
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CantabriaSantanderSpain

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