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Multinational investment and return migration in Ireland in the 1990s- a county-level analysis

Richard C. Jones


The mobility transition from emigration to immigration in Ireland in the 1990s resulted in significant return migration, whose relationship to new multinational jobs at the micro-scale has not been investigated. Spatial analyses of county data (Census and IDA) reveal that return migration was high in areas with high MNC and other job growth such as greater Dublin and the central west, and low in areas with poor job growth such as the border zone and parts of the southeast. However, some areas with low return migration had substantial job growth (e.g., county Limerick), and some areas with high return migration had a scarcity of new jobs (e.g. county Mayo) suggesting non-economic reasons for return. A household survey in Mayo County in 2002 revealed the predominance of family and quality of life reasons over economic reasons in the decision to return to Ireland. However, the improving Irish economy very likely enabled returnees to meet their career aspirations in Ireland, regardless of the primary reasons they stated for return.

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