Migration Attitudes and Preferences of Russian Workers in the Context of the Human Capital Concept

Migration Attitudes and Preferences of Russian Workers in the Context of the Human Capital Concept

Latova N.V.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia myshona@rambler.ru

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Latova N.V. Migration Attitudes and Preferences of Russian Workers in the Context of the Human Capital Concept. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 10. P. 39-51


According to the theory of human capital, migration enables migrants to increase or stabilize their earnings and not to be unemployed. To verify this, the data from a nationwide survey conducted in May 2017 Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS analyses migration attitudes and preferences of Russian workers and their entourage. It has been concluded that migration for labor reasons is most popular among “weak” subgroups of Russian workers (with poor financial standing and lower than special secondary education). At the same time, residents of megacities and well-off Russian workers (the most “strong” of their subgroups) have nowhere else to migrate because of the capital-centric structure of the country’s development except to foreign countries. Given the absence of significant differences in per capita personal income between the majority of workers who have migrated and those who have not, it is suggested that migration in Russia is more of a supporting nature for workers: it allows them to maintain employment instead of increasing the return on human capital of this professional group.

human capital; internal migration; migration motivation; migration experience; demand for migration; workers


Anikin V.A. (2017) Human Capital: Genesis of Basic Concepts and Interpretations. Ekonomicheskaya sotsiologiya [Journal of Economic Sociology]. Vol. 18. No. 4: 120–156. (In Russ.)

Becker G. (2003) Human Behavior: Economic Approach. Selected Works on Economic Theory. Moscow: GU VHsEh. (In Russ.)

Becker G. (1962) Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis. The Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 70. No. 5: 9–49.

Belyaeva L.A. (2018) Social Distances as a Feature of the Contemporary Russian Social Space. Vestnik RUDN. Seriya: Sotsiologiya [RUDN Journal of Sociology]. Vol. 18. No. 1: 58–72. (In Russ.)

Böheim R., Taylor M.P. (2007) From the Dark End of the Street to the Bright Side of the Road? The Wage Returns to Migration in Britain. Labour Economics. Vol. 14. Iss. 1: 99–117.

Bubbico D. (2011) Labor and Low-skilled Emigration from the South. Sociologia del Lavoro [Sociology of Work]. Iss. 121: 134–151. DOI: 10.3280/SL2011-121008. (In Ital.)

Greenwood M.J. (1997) Internal Migration in Developed Countries. In: Rosenzweig M., Stark O. (eds) Handbook of Population and Family Economics. Vol. 1B. Amsterdam; Oxford: North Holland: 647–720.

Gorshkov М.К., Tikhonova N.Е. (eds) (2016) The Middle Class in Modern Russia. Experience of Many Years of Research. Мoscow: Ves’ Mir. (In Russ.)

Korpi M., Clark W.A.V. (2015) Internal Migration and Human Capital Theory: To What Extent is it Selective? Economics Letters. Vol. 136. Iss. C: 31–34. DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2015.08.016.

Kuznetsova S.A. (2013) Migration Attitudes as the Subject of Social Psychological Research. Sotsialnaya psihologiya i obshchestvo [Social Psychology and Society] Vol. 4. No. 4: 34–45. (In Russ.)

Latova N.V. (2018) Migration of the Country's Population: Scales, Vectors, Results. In: Gorshkov М.К., Tikhonova N.Е. (eds) The Capitals and Regions of Modern Russia: Myths and Facts Fifteen Years Later. Мoscow: Ves’ Mir: 114–138. (In Russ.)

Mkrtchyan N.V. (2011) Migration Balance in Russian Cities: to the Problem on the Influence of Size and Position in the Center–periphery System of Relationships. Nauchnye trudy INP RAN [Scientific Papers of the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences]. Iss. 9: 416– 430. (In Russ.)

Mkrtchyan N.V., Florinskaya Yu.F., Kazenin K.I. (2020) Internal Migration as a Resource for the Development of Russia: Socio-economic Effects, Costs and Limitations. Moscow: “Delo” RANKhiGS. (In Russ.)

Moiseenko V.M., Chudinovskikh O.S. (2000) Human Capital Theory and Migration Studies in Russia. Problemy prognozirovaniya [Forecasting Issues]. No. 4: 124–137. (In Russ.)

Mukomel V.I. (2018) Migration Studies: the Sociological Dimension. In: Tishkova V.A. (ed.), Sinanov B.A. (comp.) Scientific Research in the Field of Ethnicity, Interethnic Relations and the History of National Politics. Proceedings of the session of the Scientific Council of the RAS on Complex Problems of Ethnicity and Interethnic Relations, December 19, 2017, Moscow. Moscow: IEA RAN: 200–210. (In Russ.)

Pais P.S.M., de Mattos L.B., Teixeira E.C. (2018) Interstate Migration and Human Capital Formation in Brazil. International Journal of Social Economics. Vol. 45. No. 8: 1159–1173.

Schultz T.W. (1961) Investment in Human Capital. The American Economic Review. Vol. 51. No. 1: 1–17.

Sjaastad L.А. (1962) Тhе Costs and Returns of Human Migration. The Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 70. No. 5: 80–93.

Tyuryukanova E., Zayonchkovskaya Zh. (eds) (2010) Migration and the Demographic Crisis in Russia. Moscow: MAKS Press. (In Russ.)

Yankow J.J. (2003) Migration, Job Change and Wage Growth: a New Perspective on the Pecuniary Return to Geographic Mobility. Journal of Regional Science. Vol. 43. No. 3: 483–516. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9787.00308.

Zayonchkovskaya Zh.A., Karachurina L.B., Mkrtchyan N.V., Florinskaya Yu.F., Abylkalikov S.I., Seredkina E.A. (2019) Migration Processes in Russia. In: Zakharov S.V. (ed.) Population of Russia 2017: The Twenty-fifth Annual Demographic Report. Ch. 6. Moscow: NIU VShE: 382–458. (In Russ.)

Content No 10, 2020