Table of Contents

International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Elgar original reference

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.

Chapter 21: Happiness and migration

Nicole B. Simpson

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, international economics, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


In the migration decision, agents compare the utility they expect to gain from moving to an alternative location with the utility they get from staying at home. Certainly, many factors influence the migration decision, including income differentials, migration costs, amenities, immigration restrictions, political circumstances, macroeconomic conditions and demographic structure (as discussed in Chapters 1and 2 in this volume). Imbedded in the utility function of possible migrants is the perceived level of happiness in a new destination relative to their origin, indicating that happiness may be an important factor in the decision to migrate. In addition, migrants may be inherently different in the amount of happiness they have, compared with non-migrants back home and natives in the destination. Migrants may also affect the happiness of natives in the destination. This chapter explores the various channels in which happiness and migration are related, in regard to both international and internal migration.

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