Life Satisfaction and International Migration: a Field Theoretic Measurement Model
By Georg P. Mueller
Journal: Applied Research in Quality of Life Studies
This article explores the use of migration data for the measurement of life satisfaction as an alternative to data collection by standardized interviews. It starts with the development of a field theoretic model of the impact of life satisfaction on international migration, which is subsequently reversed such that it explains life satisfaction by means of migration data. Empirical tests with data about the migration from Poland to other European countries confirm the main hypotheses of the model. However, the accuracy of ex-post predictions about the quality of life of a target country depends on the number of earlier (Polish) immigrants, who are a source of information for others considering to emigrate. Thus, under certain conditions the model may be used for imputing the life satisfaction of countries for which the respective information is missing. The model is even useful if the information for model calibration is completely missing: the article shows how in this situation migration data may be used for ranking countries with regard to their not directly measurable life satisfaction.