Abstract

This article tests the popular social capital hypothesis in the context of recent temporary labour migration from Poland to Germany. It relies on data from the Polish Migration Project, which, following the model of the prominent Mexican Migration Project, collected rich longitudinal information on residents of four Polish communities in 2005. Discrete event history analyses are used to test, first, whether since 1989 prior migration experience of others indeed had an independent impact on the likelihood of making a working trip to Germany and, second, in how far this can explain the observed dynamics over time. In the course of the analyses it turns out that some of the variables frequently used as indicators of migration-specific social capital seem to be problematic. Thus, besides adding the Polish–German experience to discussions on the role of social capital in explaining contemporary migration, the article also contributes to general methodological issues involved.

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