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Does Migration Make You Happy? A Longitudinal Study of Internal Migration and Subjective Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • Nowok, Beata

    () (University of St. Andrews)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • Findlay, Allan M.

    () (University of St. Andrews)

  • Gayle, Vernon

    () (University of Stirling)

Abstract

The majority of modelling studies on consequences of internal migration focus almost exclusively on the labour market outcomes and the material well-being of migrants. We investigate whether individuals who migrate within the UK become happier after the move than they were before it and whether the effect is permanent or transient. Using life satisfaction responses from 12 waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and employing a fixed-effects model, we derive a temporal pattern of migrants' subjective well-being (SWB) around the time of the migration event. Our findings make an original contribution by revealing for the first time that, on average, migration is preceded by a period when individuals experience a significant decline in happiness. The boost that is received through migration appears to bring people back to their initial level of happiness. As opposed to labour market outcomes of migration, SWB outcomes do not differ significantly between men and women. Perhaps surprisingly, long-distance migrants are at least as happy as short-distance migrants despite the higher social costs that are involved.

Suggested Citation

  • Nowok, Beata & van Ham, Maarten & Findlay, Allan M. & Gayle, Vernon, 2011. "Does Migration Make You Happy? A Longitudinal Study of Internal Migration and Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 6140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6140
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Adaptation and the Easterlin Paradox," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01112725, HAL.
    2. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Happiness and the emigration decision," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-96, October.
    3. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dietz, Barbara & Gatskova, Ksenia & Schmillen, Achim, 2014. "Showing off to the new neighbors? Income, socioeconomic status and consumption patterns of internal migrants," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 230-245.
    4. Malgorzata Switek, 2016. "Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction: Well-Being Paths of Young Adult Migrants," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 191-241, January.
    5. Philip S. Morrison & William A.V. Clark, 2016. "Loss aversion and duration of residence," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(36), pages 1079-1100, October.
    6. Malgorzata Switek, 2016. "Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction: Well-Being Paths of Young Adult Migrants," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 191-241, January.
    7. Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Adaptation and the Easterlin Paradox," Working Papers halshs-01112725, HAL.
    8. Nikolova, Milena & Graham, Carol, 2015. "In transit: The well-being of migrants from transition and post-transition countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 164-186.
    9. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2015. "Happy Moves? Assessing the Link between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 335-356, August.
    10. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Happy moves? Assessing the impact of subjective well-being on the emigration decision," Working Papers 20141402, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    11. Angela Faßhauer & Katrin Rehdanz, 2015. "Estimating Benefits from Regional Amenities: Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 748, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. 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).
    13. Tunstall, Helena & Mitchell, Richard & Pearce, Jamie & Shortt, Niamh, 2014. "The general and mental health of movers to more- and less-disadvantaged socio-economic and physical environments within the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 97-107.
    14. Randell, Heather, 2016. "The short-term impacts of development-induced displacement on wealth and subjective well-being in the Brazilian Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 385-400.
    15. Martijn Hendriks & Kai Ludwigs & Ruut Veenhoven, 2016. "Why are Locals Happier than Internal Migrants? The Role of Daily Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 481-508, January.
    16. Coulter, Rory & van Ham, Maarten & Findlay, Allan M., 2013. "New Directions for Residential Mobility Research: Linking Lives through Time and Space," IZA Discussion Papers 7525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Graif, Corina & Arcaya, Mariana C. & Diez Roux, Ana V., 2016. "Moving to opportunity and mental health: Exploring the spatial context of neighborhood effects," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 50-58.
    18. Switek, Malgorzata, 2012. "Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction: Well-Being Effects of Moving as a Young Adult," IZA Discussion Papers 7016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Daniel Hummel, 2016. "Inter-State Internal Migration: State-level Wellbeing as a Cause," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 2149-2165, October.
    20. Kopmann, Angela & Rehdanz, Katrin, 2014. "Underestimated Benefits from Periphery: Internal Migration and Subjective Well-being," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100382, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. repec:spr:anresc:v:59:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00168-015-0728-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; happiness; migration; longitudinal data; UK;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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