April 2013

IZA DP No. 7368: The Effects of International Migration on the Well-Being of Native Populations in Europe

William Betz, Nicole B. Simpson

published in: IZA Journal of Migration, 2013, 2:12.

With worldwide migration becoming increasingly prevalent in policy agendas over the past several decades, understanding the effects that migrants have on a host country's population continues to be an important research agenda. There is a large literature documenting the effects that migrants have on native wages, tax burden, unemployment, etc. However, very little is understood about how migrants affect the happiness, or subjective well-being, of natives. This paper uses the European Social Survey to analyze the effects of aggregate immigration inflows on the subjective well-being of native-born populations in a panel of 26 countries between 2002 and 2010. We find that recent immigrant flows have a nonlinear, yet overall positive impact on the well-being of natives. Specifically, we find that immigrant flows from two years prior have larger positive effects on natives' well-being than immigrant inflows from one year prior. Our findings are very small in magnitude and in practical application; only large immigrant flows would affect native well-being significantly.