Happiness among North-to-South Migrants in Europe

26 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013

Date Written: July 5, 2013


Migration from a poorer country to a wealthier one often results in a lower relative economic status for the migrant (even when it increases their incomes in an “absolute” sense) – and thus perhaps results also in a decrease in his/her happiness. By the same logic, migration from a wealthy country to a poorer one might bring a higher status position for the migrant and so might raise his/her happiness. This paper investigates happiness among migrants who move from northern European countries to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, comparing them to stayers in the origin countries (Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands). The analysis shows that migrants are less happy than stayers, in a bivariate comparison and a conventional regression model. A consideration of results from “treatment models” and matching analyses suggests that the difference represents a decrease in happiness for the migrants (and not a difference in happiness prior to migration), contrary to an expectation rooted in an anticipated increase in economic status.

Keywords: international migration, happiness, subjective well-being, Europe

JEL Classification: D31, F22, I31, J61

Suggested Citation

Bartram, David, Happiness among North-to-South Migrants in Europe (July 5, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290154 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290154

David Bartram (Contact Author)

University of Leicester ( email )

University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.le.ac.uk/sociology/db158/

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