Home Sweet Home? Macroeconomic Conditions in Home Countries and the Well-Being of Migrants
This paper examines whether the subjective well-being of migrants is responsive to fl uc- tuations in macroeconomic conditions in their country of origin. Using the German Socio- Economic Panel for the years 1984 to 2009 and macroeconomic variables for 24 countries of origin, we exploit country-year variation for identi cation of the effect and panel data to con- trol for migrants observed and unobserved characteristics. We find strong (mild) evidence that migrants ' well-being responds negatively (positively) to an increase in the GDP (un- employment rate) of their home country. That is, we originally demonstrate that migrants regard home countries as natural comparators and, thereby, suggest an original assessment of the migration s relative deprivation motive. We also show that migrants are positively affected by the performances of the German regions in which they live (a signal effect ). We demonstrate that both e¤ects decline with years-since-migration and with the degree of assimilation in Germany, which is consistent with a switch of migrants reference point from home countries to migration destinations. Results are robust to the inclusion of country-time trends, to control for remittances sent to relatives in home countries and to a correction for selection into return migration. We derive important implications for labor market and migration policies.
JEL: C90, D63
Zimmermann, Klaus F.
Working Papers in Economics