Migration, Gender, Wages and Wellbeing: Who Gains and in Which Ways?
- 23 Downloads
Empirical studies have consistently documented that while married men tend to lead more prosperous careers after moving, migration tends to be disruptive for careers of married women. We extend this literature by exploring whether migration is followed by a change in subjective wellbeing (SWB). We examine how this experience differs by individuals of different gender, relationship-status and motivations for moving (of both partners in a couple relationship, where relevant). The results are compared to wage differences following migration. All results are conditioned on time-varying personal characteristics, including important life events. Consistent with prior literature, males have a stronger tendency than females to increase their earnings after moving. However, we find that females have a stronger tendency than males to increase their SWB following a move. These gender differences are pronounced for couples. Differences tend to narrow, but do not disappear, once we account for motivations for moving of individuals and, where relevant, of their partner.
KeywordsMigration Gender Relationship-status Subjective wellbeing Wages
JEL CodesD13 I31 J16 J22 R23
This paper uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either DSS or the Melbourne Institute. We thank Judd Ormsby for his insights and thank two referees of this journal for helpful comments on an earlier draft.
This research was funded through Marsden Fund Grant MEP1201 from the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Brickman, P., & Campbell, D. T. (1971). Hedonic relativism and planning the good society. In M. H. Appley (Ed.), Adaptation-level theory: A symposium (pp. 287–305). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- DaVanzo, J. (1976). Why families move: A model of the geographic mobility of married couples. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED135697. Accessed 26 Jan 2019.
- Frijters, P., Johnston, D. W., & Shields, M. A. (2008). Happiness dynamics with quarterly life event data. IZA discussion paper 3604.Google Scholar
- Grimes, A., Ormsby, J., & Preston, K. (2017). Wages, wellbeing and location: Slaving away in Sydney or cruising on the gold coast. Motu working paper 17-07. Wellington: Motu Economic & Public Policy Research.Google Scholar
- Jr, B., Robert, O., Wolfe, D. M., Oppong, C., Seroussi, M., Lillard, L. A., et al. (1995). Husbands and wives: The dynamics of married living. American Journal of Sociology, 100(5), 165–178.Google Scholar
- Kettlewell, N. (2010). The impact of rural to urban migration on wellbeing in Australia. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 16(3), 187.Google Scholar
- Maxwell, N. L. (1988). Economic returns to migration: Marital status and gender differences. Social Science Quarterly, 69(1), 108.Google Scholar
- Melzer, S. M. (2011). Does migration make you happy? The influence of migration on subjective well-being. Journal of Social Research & Policy, 2(2), 73.Google Scholar
- Mincer, J. (1977). Family migration decisions. NBER Working Paper No. 199. Mass, USA: National Bureau of Economic Research Cambridge.Google Scholar