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Emigration, remittances, and the subjective well-being of those staying behind

Author

Listed:
  • Artjoms Ivlevs

    () (University of the West of England
    IZA)

  • Milena Nikolova

    () (University of Groningen)

  • Carol Graham

    () (The Brookings Institution)

Abstract

Abstract We offer the first global perspective on the well-being consequences of emigration for those staying behind using several subjective well-being measures (evaluations of best possible life, positive affect, stress, and depression). Using the Gallup World Poll data for 114 countries during 2009–2011, we find that having family members abroad is associated with greater evaluative well-being and positive affect, and receiving remittances is linked with further increases in evaluative well-being, especially in poorer contexts—both across and within countries. We also document that having household members abroad is linked with increased stress and depression, which are not offset by remittances. The out-migration of family members appears less traumatic in countries where migration is more common, indicating that people in such contexts might be able to cope better with separation. Overall, subjective well-being measures, which reflect both material and non-material aspects of life, furnish additional insights and a well-rounded picture of the consequences of emigration on migrant family members staying behind relative to standard outcomes employed in the literature, such as the left-behind’s consumption, income, or labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Artjoms Ivlevs & Milena Nikolova & Carol Graham, 2019. "Emigration, remittances, and the subjective well-being of those staying behind," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 113-151, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0718-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0718-8
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Remittances; Depression; Stress; Cantril ladder of life; Happiness; Gallup World Poll;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • 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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