Lighthouse Lecture Series: Migration and Wellbeing

Lighthouse Lecture Series: Migration and Wellbeing

Macquarie University and the Faculty of Business and Economics welcomed Professor Klaus Zimmermann from Maastricht University, the Netherlands as part of the Visiting Domestic Scholar Award scheme in the Faculty of Business and Economics to present a public lecture on Migration and Wellbeing.

This research is particularly relevant given that happiness and wellbeing are now considered indicators for society to replace concepts like gross national product (GNP). The public lecture dealt with the measurement of well-being and its relationship with migration. Happiness and well-being can be measured and are under consideration as indicators for society to replace concept like the gross national product (GNP). A rising and significant literature has studied this and the underlying factors as their consequences for migrants and the natives. 

Professor Zimmermann, Co-Director, Centre for Population, Development and Labour Economics (POP), The United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), Maastricht University, the Netherlands, discussed the value of mobility, the challenges facing migrants and their original and host countries and answered three research questions:

  • Can migrants increase the well-being of natives?

It is not that natives are aware of this, but it is causal that properly controlled for other factors natives are more happy or better off when more migrants are present. This for instance can be explained through services provided by migrants.

  • How are migrants affected by economic development in their country of origin?

Migrants are negatively affected by positive economic developments in their country of origin. This relationship disappears the more migrants integrate in their host country. It is a documentation of reference group behavior.

  • How are remittances correlated with the well-being of migrants?

Both altruistic (such as pure altruism and reciprocity) and contractual motivations (such as co-insurance and investment) are at work.

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