Migrant Happiness : Insights into the broad well-being outcomes of migration and its determinants

by Hendriks (Martijn) M

Institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Year: 2018
Keywords: International migration; internal migration; immigrants; subjective well-being; happiness; life satisfaction; social capital
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2153959
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1765/104017


To facilitate migrants and policy-makers in making more informed migration decisions, the focus of this dissertation is on better understanding migrants happiness outcomes of migration and its determinants. By integrating the dispersed empirical findings on migrants happiness outcomes from migration, it becomes evident that most migrants across the globe do become happier by migrating. Nevertheless, migrants in various migration streams experience negative happiness outcomes of migrating. In addition, migrants moving to more developed countries generally remain less happy than their native counterparts. In fact, migrants barely become happier during their stay in many developed host countries. More generally, then, I argue that migrants generally experience suboptimal outcomes of migration because of the bounded rationality of migrants, policy-makers, and other migration stakeholders. This dissertation highlights various factors that help explain migrants happiness outcomes. At the macro level, a particularly strong association is identified between the attitudes of natives towards immigrants and immigrant happiness. Migrants inferior social networks and time distribution are important explanations for the happiness gap between migrants and non-migrants. Finally, a key reason why immigrants in Western Europe barely become happier with their length of stay and across generations is their faltering perceptions of the host society that result from a shifting frame-of-reference.