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Happiness and International Migration

  • Linnea Polgreen

    ()

  • Nicole Simpson

    ()

In this paper, we consider the extent to which the aggregate happiness of a country affects the flow of people across its borders. We merge data from the World Values Survey, which produces happiness indices for 84 countries between 1981 and 2004, with three different migration datasets. We find that happiness has a U-shaped relationship with emigration rates: emigration rates fall in happiness for relatively unhappy countries, but rise for relatively happy countries. The U-shaped relationship also holds for migrant flows into the U.S. When analyzing net migration rates, we find that the reverse relationship exists. Net migration is associated with an increase in happiness for relatively unhappy countries, but after a threshold level of happiness, net migration is associated with a decrease in happiness. Our findings are robust to various empirical specifications and datasets.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-010-9229-3
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 12 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 819-840

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:12:y:2011:i:5:p:819-840
DOI: 10.1007/s10902-010-9229-3
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/wellbeing+%26+quality-of-life/journal/10902/PS2

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  1. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  2. Vendrik, Maarten C.M. & Woltjer, Geert B., 2007. "Happiness and loss aversion: Is utility concave or convex in relative income?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1423-1448, August.
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  7. Richard Eckersley, 2000. "The Mixed Blessings of Material Progress: Diminishing Returns in the Pursuit of Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 267-292, September.
  8. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
  9. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  11. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2004. "Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study," NBER Working Papers 10499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness Prospers in Democracy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 79-102, March.
  15. repec:ilo:ilowps:338944 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "International migration: A panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0707, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  17. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  18. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, December.
  19. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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  22. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  23. Rotte, Ralph & Vogler, Michael, 1999. "The Effects of Development on Migration: Theoretical Issues and New Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 46, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. John F. Helliwell, 2004. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 10896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  26. David Karemera & Victor Iwuagwu Oguledo & Bobby Davis, 2000. "A gravity model analysis of international migration to North America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1745-1755.
  27. Ek, Ellen & Koiranen, Markku & Raatikka, Veli-Pekka & Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta & Taanila, Anja, 2008. "Psychosocial factors as mediators between migration and subjective well-being among young Finnish adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(7), pages 1545-1556, April.
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