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Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy. Does Social Comparison Affect Migrants’ Subjective Well-Being?

Author

Listed:
  • Manuela Stranges

    () (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)

  • Daniele Vignoli

    () (Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni 'G. Parenti' - DiSIA, Università degli Studi di Firenze)

  • Alessandra Venturini

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica "Cognetti de Martiis", Campus "Luigi Einaudi", Università degli Studi di Torino)

Abstract

This paper contributes to the growing strand of literature that investigates migrants’ subjective wellbeing by analysing how the social comparison with two reference groups (natives and other migrants) within the host country affects migrants’ life satisfaction. Using data from six rounds of the European Social Survey, we constructed two measures of economic distance that compare each migrant’s situation with the average of the group of natives and the group of migrants with similar characteristics. Our results indicate that when the disadvantage between the migrant and the reference groups becomes smaller, migrant’s life satisfaction increases. The effect of the social comparison with natives appears larger than the social comparison with migrants and, in both cases, it is stronger for individuals with higher levels of education. We also show that social comparison is stronger for second generation migrants than for first generation migrants and, within this latter group, it intensifies as length of stay in the host country increases. Overall, the role of social comparison seems crucial to understanding patterns of integration in an enlarged Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuela Stranges & Daniele Vignoli & Alessandra Venturini, 2019. "Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy. Does Social Comparison Affect Migrants’ Subjective Well-Being?," Working Papers 201906, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201906
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; migrants; social comparison;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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