Economic crisis and changes in international mobility patterns of young adults in Spain

Pablo Pumares, University of Almeria
Elena Marín-Cassinello, University of Almeria

The long economic crisis in which Spain is plunged since 2008 has had a particularly virulent effect on employment. Unemployment has rocketed to unbearable levels. The expected slow pace of the recovery is far from solving the problem of several millions of people without employment for several years. In this context, young adults, especially those born abroad, are one of the groups suffering the biggest impact. This situation must have consequences on the mobility patterns of this group that may become a strategy of response to the crisis. From foreign migrants point of view, it can be expected a 180 degree turn following the classical theory. Nevertheless, other factors may influence the intensity, such as the migration project and the differential effect of the crisis by sex, age, qualification or origin. As for the Spaniards, the devastating unemployment figures have not been accompanied by massive outmigration. Nevertheless, last months there is an increasing preoccupation related, not to quantity, but to quality, and brain drain is having growing presence in the media and the political debate. Along these lines, it can be considered the hypothesis launched by Méndez (2013) that points to the effect of austerity policies since 2011 that are having a bigger impact on high skilled jobs. Following the human capital theory, these high skilled unemployed are the most likely to migrate, since they would have more possibilities to succeed abroad and more earnings to lose if they stay. It poses the question on the project of future for Spain, throwing away its young talent when there resides the key for competitiveness. This paper aims to analyze the impact of economic crisis and international mobility patterns of young adults in Spain through available official statistics. We will distinguish when possible the differential effects by sex and nationality.

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Presented in Poster Session 1