Open Minds, Open Borders: Individual differences in the relationship between immigration and psychological well-being

54 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2019 Last revised: 17 Feb 2021

See all articles by Peter Howley

Peter Howley

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

Muhammad Waqas

University of Bradford; University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

Neel Ocean

University of Warwick

Date Written: January 8, 2020

Abstract

While there is a rich literature, particularly in the economic sciences, exploring the consequences of immigration for economic outcomes, we know comparatively little about the impact for psychological well-being. Through linking a large geo-referenced longitudinal household survey with local-level immigration data, we document a negative relationship between inflows of migrants into local areas and the psychological well-being of natives living in those areas. The main novel feature of this work is that we demonstrate how these main effects mask considerable heterogeneity according to differences in underlying psychological dispositions. For some groups, such as those with high scores on constructs measuring importance of ethnicity to one’s self concept, and low scores on openness and particularised trust, the negative estimated impacts associated with inflows of migrants can be substantive. On the other hand, we find that immigration is positively associated with the psychological well-being of individuals with high scores on openness and particularised trust. More broadly, our results highlight the importance of underlying psychological dispositions, as opposed to more commonly examined visible differences between people (e.g. socio-demographic traits), in moderating the relationship between immigration and psychological well-being.

Keywords: psychological well-being; personality; prejudice; openness; identity; trust

Suggested Citation

Howley, Peter and Waqas, Muhammad and Ocean, Neel, Open Minds, Open Borders: Individual differences in the relationship between immigration and psychological well-being (January 8, 2020). Leeds University Business School Working Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3321720 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3321720

Peter Howley (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Muhammad Waqas

University of Bradford ( email )

Bradford
Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP
United Kingdom

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Neel Ocean

University of Warwick

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

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