Advertisement

Does Migration Cause Unhappiness or Does Unhappiness Cause Migration? Some Initial Evidence from Latin America

  • Carol GrahamEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

Latin American emigrants, in addition to immigrants generally, report lower happiness levels than do natives in their destination country. We use Latinobarometro data on intent to migrate and find that potential migrants demonstrate the traits of “frustrated achievers” (e.g. respondents with high income gains, but who report low satisfaction with those gains) and are less happy than the average. Our analysis suggests that unhappiness drives migration, while not disproving that migration also creates unhappiness. These factors may reinforce one another. Our work speaks to the broader question of whether unhappiness is a necessary condition for major societal change.

Keywords

Happiness Migration Subjective income Latin America 

Bibliography

  1. Bartram, D. (2010). International migration, open borders debates, and happiness. International Studies Review, 12(3), 339–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartram, D. (2011). Economic migration and happiness: Comparing immigrants’ and natives’ happiness gains from income. Social Indicators Research, 103(1), 57–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bobowik, M. (2011). Personal values and well-being among Europeans, Spanish natives and immigrants to Spain: Does the culture matter? Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(3), 401–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Briquets, D. (1983). Demographic and related determinants of recent Cuban emigration. International Migration Review, 17(1), 95–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cárdenas, J. C. (2009). Social norms and behavior in the local commons through the lens of field experiments. DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006650, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.Google Scholar
  6. Connor, P., & Massey, D. (2010). Economic outcomes among Latino migrants to Spain and the United States: Difference by source region and legal status. International Migration Review, 44(4), 802–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Defoort, C. (2008). Long-term trends in international migration: An analysis of the six main receiving countries. Population, 63(2), 285–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Easterlin, A. (2001). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory. The Economic Journal, 111, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frank, J., Markowitz, J., & Graham, C. (2011). Whither the middle class in latin America. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  10. Graham, C. (2009). Happiness around the world: The paradox of happy peasants and miserable millionaires. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Graham, C. (2011a). Does more money make you happier? Why so much debate. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 6(3), 219–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Graham, C. (2011b). The pursuit of happiness: An economy of well-being. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  13. Horton, S. (2008). Consuming childhood: “Lost” and “Ideal” childhoods as a motivation for migration. Anthropological Quarterly, 81(4), 925–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Knight, J., & Quheng, D., & Shi, L. (2010). The puzzle of migrant labour shortage and rural labour surplus in China (Economics series working papers 494). Oxford: Department of Economics, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  15. Kyle, J., & Goldstein, R. (2011). Migration industries: A comparison of the Ecuador-US and Ecuador-Spain cases. EU-US Immigration Systems 2011/15. San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; Florence: European University Institute.Google Scholar
  16. Lapatí, E. (2009). Can migration foster development in Mexico? The case of poverty and inequality. International Migration, 47(5), 75–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. OECD. (2007). Policy coherence for development: Migration and developing countries. Paris: The Development Center.Google Scholar
  18. Padilla, B., & Peixoto, J. (2007). Latin American immigration to southern Europe. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  19. Pelligrino, A. (2000). Trends in international migration in latin America and the Caribbean. International Social Science Journal, 52(165), 395–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pelligrino, A. (2004). Migration from latin America to Europe: Trends and policy challenges. International Organization for Migration: Migration research series.Google Scholar
  21. Safi, M. (2010). Immigrants’ life satisfaction in Europe: Between assimilation and discrimination. European Sociological Review, 26(2), 159–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Terrazas, A., Papademetriou, G., & Rosenblum, M. (2011). Evolving demographic and human-capital trends in Mexico and central America and their implications for regional migration. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  23. Valencia, J. (2008). Migration and its determinants: A study of two communities in Colombia. Atlantic Economic Journal, 36(2), 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wood, H., Gibson, L., Ribeiro, L., & Hamsho-Diaz, P. (2010). Crime victimization in Latin America and intentions to migrate to the United States. International Migration Review, 44(1), 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wright, K. (2010). It’s a limited kind of happiness: Barriers to achieving human well-being among Peruvian migrants in London and Madrid. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 29(3), 367–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings InstitutionWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations