Marcel Erlinghagen, Christoph Kern, Petra Stein
Migration, Social Stratification and Dynamic Effects on Subjective Well Being

Advances in Life Course Research, 2021: 48, issue June 2021, (article no. 100393)
ISSN: 1040-2608

Using German panel data and relying on internal relocation, this paper investigates the anticipation and adap-tation of subjective well-being (SWB) in the course of migration. We hypothesize that SWB correlates with the process of migration, and that such correlations are at least partly socially stratified. Our fixed-effects regressions show no evidence of any anticipation of SWB before the event of migration, but a highly significant and sustained positive adaptation effect. In general, (internal) migration seems to lead to a long-lasting increase in SWB. This is found to be the case for almost all analyzed socioeconomic and socio-demographic subgroups. The migration distance, the reasons for migration, and the individual’s personality traits do not appear to have any important effects on the overall observed pattern. Although these results suggest that regional mobility in Germany is a response to opportunities rather than to certain stressors, we found that the positive effect of migration on SWB seems to be hardly mediated by changes in individuals’ net income, and only partly by transitions into home ownership.