Circular Labor Mobility in the Central European Region: Job Finding and Labor Market Outcomes of Cross-Border Commuters from Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic in Austria

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Raimund HAINDORFER , Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Christoph REINPRECHT , Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Laura WIESBÍCK , Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Circular labor mobility within the EU has been strongly promoted through several institutional programs since the 1990s. However, so far the given circumstances for participants in these emerging transnational labor markets have not been investigated in depth. This is especially the case for European cross-border commuters. Our paper aims to close this gap by taking the Central European Region (CENTROPE) as an exemplary instance.

Therefore we investigate job-search strategies and related labor market outcomes of cross-border commuters in the regions of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary bordering on Austria. Theoretically, we build upon a model developed by Aguilera and Massey on the nexus of social networks, job search methods and related labor market outcomes. Methodologically, we use a brand new longitudinal survey on employment careers of cross-border commuters conducted in 2013 (N=2,550).  Empirically, the focus of our paper lies on three research questions: What job search methods do cross-border commuters from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic use in order to find employment in Austria (1)? What are the labor market outcomes of these job search methods in terms of wages (2)?

Our results strengthen the hypothesis that human and social capital resources serve as key factors for finding job strategies and successful labor market integration. For example, we can show that far family and friendship ties are more intensely related to job finding than near-family contacts. However, near or far social ties do not influence wages of cross-border commuters. Furthermore, there are substantial gender differences and differences related to previous occupational status and migration experience in regard to the job searching methods and commuters’ wages in Austria. Overall, our results reflect cross-border commuting as a new form of social practice in Europe, and demonstrate the fundamentally unequal opportunity-structure of CENTROPE as a transnational labor market.