Anticipation of Life Satisfaction Before Emigration: Evidence from German Panel Data

  • Marcel Erlinghagen
Part of the Creative Economy book series (CRE)


Sociological as well as economic research stresses the impact of so called ‘push and pull factors’ on individual migration decisions. These push and pull factors are often understood as a combination of individual socio-economic and socio-demographic determinants and institutional contexts in home and (possible) destination countries. However, within this framework there is only little research on the correlation between life satisfaction and individual migration processes up to now. The paper provides an analysis that aims on investigating the development of individual life satisfaction before emigration from a highly industrialized country under a life course perspective by using longitudinal data from the German Socio Economic Panel (SOEP). The estimated fixed effects models show a significant decrease of life satisfaction between three to two years before the final emigration event. This overall pattern can also be observed in almost all analyzed subgroups.


Life Satisfaction Destination Country Emigration Rate Fixed Effect Regression Panel Attrition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Amit, K. (2010). Determinants of life satisfaction among immigrants from western countries and from the FSU in Israel. Social Indicators Research, 96(3), 515–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baltatescu, S. (2007). Central and Eastern Europeans migrants’ subjective quality of life: A comparative study. Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 1(2), 67–81.Google Scholar
  3. Bartram, D. (2011). Economic migration and happiness: Comparing immigrants’ and natives’ happiness gains from income. Social Indicators Research, 103(1), 57–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartram, D. (2013). Happiness and ‘economic migration’: A comparison of Eastern European migrants and stayers. Migration Studies, 1(2), 156–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Börsch-Supan, A. (2008). The impact of global aging on labor, product, and capital markets. Population and Development Review, 34(supplement), 52–77.Google Scholar
  6. Brüderl, J. (2010). Kausalanalyse mit Paneldaten. In C. Wolf & H. Best (Eds.), Handbuch der sozialwissenschaftlichen Datenanalyse (pp. 963–994). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carle, R. (2007). Citizenship debates in the New Germany. Society, 44(6), 147–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, A., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y., & Lucas, R. E. (2008). Lags and leads in life satisfaction: A test of the baseline hypothesis. Economic Journal, 118(529), F222–F243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Jong, G., & Fawcett, J. (1981). Motivations for migration: An assessment and a value-expectancy research model. In G. F. De Jong & R. W. Gardner (Eds.), Migration decision making. Multidisciplinary approaches to microlevel studies in developed and developing countries (pp. 13–58). New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dolan, P., & White, M. (2006). Dynamic well-being: Connecting indicators of what people anticipate with indicators of what they experience. Social Indicators Research, 75(2), 303–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Engler, M., Erlinghagen, M., Ette, A., Sauer, L., Scheller, F., Schneider, J., & Schultz, C. (2015). International Mobil. Motive, Rahmenbedingungen und Folgen der Aus- und Rückwanderung deutscher Staatsbürger (Studie des SVR-Forschungsbereichs 2015-1). Berlin: SVR.Google Scholar
  12. Erlinghagen, M. (2011). Nowhere better than here? The subjective well‐being of German emigrants and remigrants. Comparative Population Studies, 36(4), 899–926.Google Scholar
  13. Erlinghagen, M. (2015). Emigration and anticipation of subjective well-being from a life course perspective. Unpublished paper (under review).Google Scholar
  14. Erlinghagen, M., Stegmann, T., & Wagner, G. G. (2009). Deutschland ein Auswanderungsland? DIW Wochenbericht, 76(39), 663–669.Google Scholar
  15. Ette, A., & Sauer, L. (2010). Auswanderung aus Deutschland: Daten und Analysen zur internationalen Migration deutscher Staatsbürger. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Federal Statistical Office. (2012). Statistical yearbook 2012. Wiesbaden: FSO.Google Scholar
  17. Frijters, P., Johnson, D., & Shields, M. A. (2011). Life satisfaction dynamics with quarterly life event data. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 113(1), 190–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerstdorf, D., Ram, N., Mayraz, G., Hidajat, M., Lindenberger, U., Wagner, G. G., & Schupp, J. (2010). Late-life decline in well-being across adulthood in Germany, the UK, and the US: Something is seriously wrong at the end of life. Psychology and Aging, 25(2), 477–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Granato, N., & Kalter, F. (2001). Die Persistenz ethnischer Ungleichheit auf dem deutschen Arbeitsmarkt. Diskriminierung oder Unterinvestition in Humankapital? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 53(3), 497–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Headey, B., Muffels, R. J. A., & Wagner, G. G. (2013). Choices which change life satisfaction: Similar results for Australia, Britain and Germany. Social Indicators Research, 112(3), 725–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heckhausen, H., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (1987). Thought contents and cognitive functioning in motivational versus volitional states of mind. Motivation and Emotion, 11(2), 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hummel, M., Kaufmann, K., & Rudolph, H. (2012). Zentrale Indikatoren des deutschen Arbeitsmarktes. In H. Brücker et al. (Eds.), Handbuch Arbeitsmarkt 2013. Analysen, Daten, Fakten (pp. 4–60). Bielefeld: Bertelsmann.Google Scholar
  23. Kaas, L., & Manger, C. (2010). Ethnic discrimination in Germany’s labour market: A field experiment (IZA Discussion Paper No. 4741). Bonn: IZA.Google Scholar
  24. Kley, S. (2011). Explaining the stages of migration within a life-course framework. European Sociological Review, 27(4), 469–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kogan, I. (2007). A study of immigrants’ employment careers in West Germany using the sequence analysis technique. Social Science Research, 36(2), 491–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kohler, H. P., Billari, F. C., & Ortega, J. A. (2004). The emergence of lowest-low fertility in Europe during the 1990s. Population and Development Review, 28(4), 641–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kroh, M. (2012). Documentation of sample size and panel attrition in the German socio-economic panel (SOEP) (1984 until 2011) (SOEP Data Documentation No. 66). Berlin: DIW.Google Scholar
  28. Lindenberg, S., & Frey, B. S. (1993). Alternatives, frames, and relative prices: A broader view of rational choice theory. Acta Sociologica, 36(3), 191–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration – A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Matha, T., & Wintr, L. (2009). Commuting flows across bordering regions: A note. Applied Economics Letters, 16(7), 735–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MKW (MKW Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH). (2001). Scientific report on the mobility of crossborder workers within the EEA. Report for the European Commission, DG Employment and Social Affairs. München: MKW.Google Scholar
  32. Mulder, C. H., & Hooimeijer, P. (1999). Residential relocation in the life course. In L. J. G. van Wissen & P. A. Dykstra (Eds.), Population issues. An interdisciplinary focus (pp. 159–186). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nowok, B., van Ham, M., Findlay, A. M., & Gayle, V. (2013). Does migration make you happy? A longitudinal study of internal migration and subjective well-being. Environment and Planning A, 45(4), 986–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. OECD. (2012). Closing the gender gap: Act now. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  35. Ormel, J., Lindenberg, S., Steverink, N., & Verbrugge, L. M. (1999). Subjective well-being and social production functions. Social Indicators Research, 46(1), 61–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pagan-Rodriguez, R. (2012). Longitudinal analysis of the domains of satisfaction before and after disability: Evidence from the German socio-economic panel. Social Indicators Research, 108(3), 365–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Polgreen, L., & Simpson, N. (2011). Happiness and international migration. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(5), 819–840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Powdthavee, N. (2009). What happens to people before and after disability? Focusing effects, lead effects, and adaptation in different areas of life. Social Science and Medicine, 69(12), 1834–1844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rabe-Hesketh, S., & Skrondal, A. (2005). Multilevel and longitudinal modeling using stata (2nd ed.). College Station: Stata Press.Google Scholar
  40. Safi, M. (2010). Immigrants’ life satisfaction in Europe: Between assimilation and discrimination. European Sociological Review, 26(2), 159–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schmähl, W. (1990). Demographic change and social security. Journal of Population Economics, 3(3), 159–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Simon, H. A. (1957). Models of man. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Simpson, N. (2013). Happiness and migration. In K. F. Zimmermann & A. F. Constant (Eds.), International handbook on the economics of migration (pp. 393–407). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  44. Wagner, G. G., Frick, J. R., & Schupp, J. (2007). The German socio-economic panel study (SOEP) – Scope, evolution and enhancements. Schmollers Jahrbuch, 127(1), 139–169.Google Scholar
  45. White, K. M. (2002). Longevity advances in high-income countries, 1955–96. Population and Development Review, 28(1), 59–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wingens, M., de Valk, H., Windzio, M., Aybek, C., et al. (2011). The sociological life course approach and research on migration and integration. In M. Wingens (Ed.), A life-course perspective on migration and integration (pp. 1–26). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany

Personalised recommendations