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Happy Moves? Assessing the Link Between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions

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  • Ivlevs, Artjoms

    () (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Abstract

It has been shown that higher levels of subjective well-being lead to greater work productivity, better physical health and enhanced social skills. Because of these positive externalities, policymakers across the world should be interested in attracting and retaining happy and life-satisfied migrants. This paper studies the link between life satisfaction and one's intentions to move abroad. Using survey data from 35 European and Central Asian countries, I find a U-shaped association between life satisfaction and emigration intentions: it is the most and the least life-satisfied people who are the most likely to express intentions to emigrate. This result is found in countries with different levels of economic development and institutional quality. The instrumental variable results suggest that higher levels of life satisfaction have a positive effect on the probability of reporting intentions to migrate. The findings of this paper raise concerns about possible 'happiness drain' in migrant-sending countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivlevs, Artjoms, 2015. "Happy Moves? Assessing the Link Between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions," IZA Discussion Papers 9017, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael C. Burda & Wolfgang Härdle & Marlene Müller & Axel Werwatz, 1998. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: facts and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 525-541.
    2. David Bartram, 2011. "Economic Migration and Happiness: Comparing Immigrants’ and Natives’ Happiness Gains From Income," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 57-76, August.
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    4. George MacKerron, 2012. "Happiness Economics From 35 000 Feet," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 705-735, September.
    5. Beata Nowok & Maarten van Ham & Allan M Findlay & Vernon Gayle, 2013. "Does Migration Make You Happy? A Longitudinal Study of Internal Migration and Subjective Well-Being," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 45(4), pages 986-1002, April.
    6. Stillman, Steven & Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Rohorua, Halahingano, 2015. "Miserable Migrants? Natural Experiment Evidence on International Migration and Objective and Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 79-93.
    7. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Popova, Olga, 2014. "Life (dis)satisfaction and the intention to migrate: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 40-49.
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    11. Linnea Polgreen & Nicole Simpson, 2011. "Happiness and International Migration," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 819-840, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Erlinghagen & Christoph Kern & Petra Stein, 2019. "Internal Migration, Social Stratification and Dynamic Effects on Subjective Well Being," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1046, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Z. Eylem Gevrek & Pinar Kunt & Heinrich Ursprung, 2019. "Education, Political Discontent, and Emigration Intentions: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Turkey," CESifo Working Paper Series 7710, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. repec:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0718-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. repec:sae:envira:v:50:y:2018:i:1:p:175-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Artjoms Ivlevs & Michail Veliziotis, 2018. "Local-level immigration and life satisfaction: The EU enlargement experience in England and Wales," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 50(1), pages 175-193, February.
    7. Paul Frijters & Benno Torgler & Grace Gao & Daniel Melser, 2016. "Revealed Preference Measures of Quality of Life in Australia's Urban and Regional Areas," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92, pages 15-29, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transition economies; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; emigration;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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