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

18 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2011

See all articles by Beata Nowok

Beata Nowok

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Maarten van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies; University of St. Andrews; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Allan Findlay

University of St. Andrews

Vernon Gayle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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.

Keywords: migration, happiness, subjective well-being, longitudinal data, UK

JEL Classification: J61, R23

Suggested Citation

Nowok, Beata and van Ham, Maarten and Findlay, Allan and Gayle, Vernon, Does Migration Make You Happy? A Longitudinal Study of Internal Migration and Subjective Well-Being. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6140, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1968091

Beata Nowok (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Maarten Van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 5043
2600 GA Delft
Netherlands
+31 15 278 2782 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.maartenvanham.nl

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Allan Findlay

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

Vernon Gayle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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