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Happiness and International Migration

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  • Linnea Polgreen

    ()

  • Nicole Simpson

    ()

Abstract

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.
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Suggested Citation

  • Linnea Polgreen & Nicole Simpson, 2011. "Happiness and International Migration," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 819-840, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:12:y:2011:i:5:p:819-840
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-010-9229-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:iza:izawol:journl:2017:n:373 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hung-Hao Chang & Pei-An Liao, 2015. "Are Immigrant Wives Happy in Taiwan? A Look at the Role of Bargaining Power Within the Married Couples," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 295-312, April.
    3. Federica D’Isanto & Panagiotis Fouskas & Melania Verde, 2016. "Determinants of Well-being Among Legal and Illegal Immigrants: Evidence from South Italy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 1109-1141, April.
    4. Ruohong Cai & Neli Esipova & Michael Oppenheimer & Shuaizhang Feng, 2014. "International migration desires related to subjective well-being," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, December.
    5. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2015. "Happy Moves? Assessing the Link between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 335-356, August.
    6. William Betz & Nicole Simpson, 2013. "The effects of international migration on the well-being of native populations in Europe," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, December.
    7. Ivlevs, Artjoms, 2015. "Happy Moves? Assessing the Link Between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions," IZA Discussion Papers 9017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Happiness and the emigration decision," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-96, October.
    9. Gholipour, Hassan F. & Tajaddini, Reza & Nguyen, Jeremy, 2016. "Happiness and inbound tourism," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 251-253.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International migration; Happiness; Human development; Income;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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