Disagree The evidence I fairly clear that the subjective well-being of immigrants moves fairly quickly towards that of other residents in the country, and even the sub-national region, where they move. Average well-being of immigrants and previous residents is higher in those countries where immigrants are welcomed as friends and family (the Gallup migrant acceptance index). Larger migrations are more difficult to achieve happily, for both migrants and recipients, as reception capacities get strained when volumes exceed capacity.
Professor John Helliwell
Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of British Columbia
Neither agree nor disagree Depends upon what one means by ‘sudden influx’ and the migration expectations of the citizens. For example, in the year to 30 June 2019, 538,000 people arrived to live in Australia, while 298,000 people left Australia to live overseas. Of those migrant arrivals, 64 per cent were temporary visa holders including 32 per cent who were international students, who are offered residency and subsequent citizenship if they pass their final exams. With pre-covid unemployment at ~ 5%, the temporary visa holders are much needed workers, construction, high technology and agricultural workers in Australia. The expectations of the citizens is that this level of migration is ‘normal’, it has happened for years; the population gets familiar and is accepting of this level of migration . The acceptance of migration levels is very much driven by the unemployment level: “migrants taking our jobs” (Australian Labour Unions), and, political agendas, particularly its use by Governments/Leaders in differentiating their parties from the opposition in order to get re-elected. In 2001, the Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a re-election speech said “We will decide who comes to this country”. He was referring to a few hundred refugees picked up by a freighter while sailing to Australia in a leaky boat. A situation not dissimilar to what now occurs to refugees coming from North Africa to Southern Europe. But in both geographies, we were initially accepting of immigrants. Europe previously sent boats into the Mediterranean to save refugees from drowning, and, in the late 1970s and early 1980s Australia did similar in assisting more than 80,000 Vietnamese refugees to start their life as Australian citizens. Today, with pre-covid low unemployment levels, all that has changed. With right-wing political parties in control of many countries (e.g. Europe; USA, and; Australia), refugees boats in the Med are now towed ‘back to where they came from’; we have ‘a big beautiful wall’ stretching across the Mexican border, and; refugees to the antipodeans are off-shore processed, which can take half a decade, in mid-ocean refugee prisons on Manus or Christmas Island.
Doctor Tony Beatton
Visiting Fellow, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
Neither agree nor disagree I would be more comfortable with "likely" than "very likely", and would expect smaller or even positive effects in some cases, depending on the level of development of the host and source countries and the degree of competition or complementarity in social and economic dimensions between natives and migrants. The size and duration of any well-being effect, positive or negative, would depend heavily on how quickly the new entrants are assimilated and integrated into roles in whatever is going on in the host country.
Professor Gigi Foster
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator, School of Economics, UNSW Business School
Agree "I think we can refer to Durkheim's anomie concept to address this 'sudden influx of migrants' issue, as well as other related major changes that take place in societies. Anomie refers to major changes in societies which make people (residents) think that 'things are not as they used to be'. By 'things' we mean social norms, welfare regimes, religious and secular values, and so on. Important cultural transformations are not new to human beings; but in the short run they generate anomie and this creates anxiety and a decline in the sense of belonging for residents (let's not forget that migrants to also face anomie). It is important to remark that the well-being impact would take place in the short to mid-run; in the long run humankind is used to migration flows and cultural transformations. As a matter of fact, the history of humankind is built upon migration events and cultural transformations; let's take, for example, the Yamnaya's migration about 3000 to 4000 years ago into what today is called as Europe. It is important to recognize, with a long run historical perspective, that it is not with walls as we may try to deter the flow of humankind's history. Happiness research provides evidence of this anomie effect taking place in societies as a consequence of the influx of migrants with a very different culture. Happiness research can also provide insight on how to deal with it. We must first recognize that the well-being effect exists -although not all social and age groups are equally affected-. Then, we must understand why it takes place. Finally, we must design and implement strategies for the social convivence of culturally diverse groups, for their social integration, and for the recognition of the value of plural societies."
Professor Mariano Rojas
Professor of Economics, Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla
Agree It is simple: In the first few years the costs produced by the migrants are large, reducing the wellbeing of locals.
Professor Bruno Frey
Visiting Professor of Economics and Wellbeing, University of Basel
Neither agree nor disagree Depends on what kind of wellbeing. Economic (objective) wellbeing was fostered in North-Western Europe in the 16th century by the influx of Hugenots and Latin Jews and the influx of Indians in post-colonial Britain does not seem to have harmed the economy. Effect on subjective wellebing may be different, in particular on satisfaction with domains of life, such as satisfaction with society. This dissatisfaction with some aspects of life does not always translate in lower satisfaction with life-as-a-whole. In spite of a large influx of migrants in West-European nations since the 1950s, average life-satisfaction kept rising.
Professor Ruut Veenhoven
Professor of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Agree Low skilled and low income people experience more intensive competition on the labor and the housing market. People in close-knit communities fear a cultural threat to their identity.
Professor Alois Stutzer
Professor of Political Economics, University of Basel
Agree The sudden influx of migrants is likely to have, on average, negative economic and psychological effects. Economically, the migrants will compete with locals for jobs. Psychologically, migrants with a different culture are likely to be disliked. Both of these reduce the wellbeing of residents, at least initially.
Professor Daniel Benjamin
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Southern California
Agree I tend to agree with this statement: there is correlational evidence that life satisfaction decreases in the degree of cultural dissimiliarity of neighbourhoods (see Longhi (2014) for example). In theory, the mechanism behind this may be that it is more difficult then to build social capital. However, at the same time, I would be cautious because I am not aware of robust causal evidence on the impact of a mass migration of a large culturally different group on the life satisfaction of residents. It is likely that any such evidence, even if causal, would be highly context-dependent (simply due to the unusualness of the event, which would be driven by some sort of external shock). Hence, although I base my answer on the best available evidence, it comes with a high degree of uncertainty.
Professor Christian Krekel
Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science, London School of Economics
Agree "The small wellbeing literature on regular, mainly economic, migration into Europe suggests little effect of those migration flows for the wellbeing of residents, even if the migrants are poorly assimilated (Betz and Simpson 2013). Indeed, the very high wellbeing countries in Northern Europe have experienced notable waves of migrants from quite different communities (such as from the Bosnian war of the 1990s or the Syrian refugee inflow of 2016). Still, those flows were all relatively modest so one should think of different evidence to predict what would happen if a truly large influx were to come in and hence cultural diversity would suddenly increase. The large sociological literature on ethnic, religious, and language diversity consistently finds an undermining of social cohesion and public good provision if diversity in a country or region is relatively high (Habyariman 2007). So a large enough influx will probably decrease the wellbeing of residents. Habyarimana, J., Humphreys, M., Posner, D. N., & Weinstein, J. M. (2007). Why does ethnic diversity undermine public goods provision?. American Political Science Review, 101(4), 709-725."
Professor Paul Frijters
Professorial Research Fellow, CEP Wellbeing Programme, London School of Economics
Neither agree nor disagree "Large", "sudden", "very different". I think this question wording is loaded to the brim, so it's awkard to have to define the terms before responding. I would note, however, that the outcome of a large influx depends on leadership and framing. If citizens take on an identity around welcoming people in need, and come together around the challenge, it could be an all-around positive experience for most people on every dimension.
Professor Chris Barrington-Leigh
Associate Professor, McGill University
Neither agree nor disagree The impact of immigration on the SWB of native populations has not received a lot of attention from researchers, but what research does exist is inconclusive. Some report positive net effects (Akay et al 2014, Betz & Simpson 2015), others no effect (Ivlevs & Veliziotis 2018), and others negative effects (Longhi 2014, Howley at al 2019). But in all cases the effects seems relatively small. Such results of course are conditional on the types of immigration inflows typically experienced in the past. The impact of a very sudden and huge influx of immigrants from one very different culture to the residents of the host nation can be expected to be quite different. Impacts will also be uneven across individuals, and vary with personality traits and attachment to ethnic and national identity. Howley et al (2019) for example argue that immigration has adverse effects on the well-being of those with a strong sense of national identity. Similarly, effects will likely vary across nations. Populations from countries with a strong multicultural tradition (like Australia and Canada) are perhaps likely to be more accepting of, and less threatened by, new immigrants, than countries where the population is less ethnically diverse.
Professor Mark Wooden
Professorial Research Fellow and Director of the HILDA Survey Project, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne
Agree People are cultural beings. We feel comfortable with people who share our own culture since this facilitates mutually beneficial experiences with low transactions costs (eg. see the work of Douglass North on shared norms). Oliver Williamson (JEL, 2000, 38(3), 595-613) emphasises that cultures change only slowly, over centuries. Alberto Alesina emphasises the long-lived importance of cultures on personal outcomes such as education choices and work ethic (Alesina and Giuliano, 2015, 53(4), 898â€“944) as well as on national outcomes (e.g. public expenditure and public debt). Having to deal on a regular basis with people from other cultures presents a shock to those who are used to the shared norms of their own culture. It forces them to account for new norms in their daily dealings which adds to transactions costs and can create feelings of distrust until the new norms become well understood.
Professor Arthur Grimes
Chair of Wellbeing and Public Policy, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington
Agree People resist change, and are anxious about the unknown. It takes time to realize the huge gains from diversity. Two years are a short period.
Professor Ori Heffetz
Associate Professor of Economics, Cornell University and Hebrew University
Neither agree nor disagree There seem to be a consensus that in the long term, more immigration is welfare enhancing. In the short term, the effect is likely to be more ambiguous. I guess it depends on the cultural differences, the age of the indigenous population and how used it is to interact with foreigners. So, in the costs it is likely to be easier than inland
Professor Eugenio Proto
Alec Cairncross Professor of Applied Economics and Econometrics, University of Glasgow, Adam Smith Business School
Neither agree nor disagree ty in, for example, coping with difference, sociability, and openness, as well as personal circumstances, such as the stability in their housing and work and whether there is a perceived threat. However, much more important will be the social, economic, and political system, and whether it promotes an â€œus versus themâ€ mentality â€“ whether there is emphasis on separation and division, rather than building toward a sense of togetherness.
Doctor Christopher Boyce
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Stirling
Agree Economic factors, such as unemployment, explain only in partthe impact of immigration on the well-being of the hosting society. Inparticular, when considering cultural aspects, identity is a crucial factor. Theability and the confidence to establish who we are and what is our role insociety is an important ingredient of peoples well-being. As an example,consider that good advertising appeals to peoples identity: ads first threatenpeoples identity and then offers a costly solution that has the power toreassure or even define the identity of the beholder. Arguably, a sudden influxof immigrants from a very different culture can appear as a threat to the identityof the receiving society. This is because often the large influx results in â€œghettosâ€which prevent social contacts and reinforce the perception of â€œusâ€ vs. â€œthemâ€.The more unequal is the receiving society, the higher the probability that newimmigrants will be clustered and perceived as different. The effect is also expectedto be stronger in societies with low social capital, intended as the set ofnorms, shared values and understandings that help a society to achieve sharedgoals, because social capital contributes to the identity of a society.Â
Doctor Francesco Sarracino
Economist, Research Division of the Statistical Office of Luxembourg -STATEC
Completely disagree Most life events have very little lasting impact on people's well-being. Some people may not like the thought of migrants influx, but for 99.9% of the population it will have absolutely no impact on their daily levels of well-being.
Professor Jordi Quoidbach
Associate Professor of Behavioral Decision Making in the Department of People Management, ESADE Business School
Completely disagree Of course no. Diversity on all aspects (e.g. culture) is of key importance for people and nations well-being. It would allow to understand different belief, values and behaviors: Learning from each other. Of course, under the assumptions that the host country and the immigrants are respectful of the other culture and traditions. If not, prejudice and stigmas may work in the opposite positions.
Professor Wenceslao Unanue
Assistant Professor, Business School, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
Agree Evidence from the European Social Survey suggests that (controlling for socio-demgraphic variables, macroeconomic conditions, the population share of immigrants and country-fixed effects) 11-point ife satisfaction statistically significantly dropped by 0.2 points from 2013 to 2015, but returned to the previous level in 2016 through 2018.
Professor Heinz Welsch
Professor of Economics, University of Oldenburg
Agree It seems self-evident that such an inflow puts pressure on the existing infrastructure, including housing and public schools, that can negatively affect wellbeing of residents.
Professor Rainer Winkelmann
Professor of Economics, University of Zurich
Agree Unfortunately yes, because two new sources of insecurity arise in this case: (i) some material resources may become scarcer, and (ii) residents' social identity should confront with migrants' social identity.
Professor Maurizio Pugno
Full Professor of Economics, University of Cassino
Neither agree nor disagree On the one hand, such an influx is likely to lead to tensions among the native residents, and hence to reduce their wellbeing in the first years of entry. On the other hand, if such an influx relieves strong shortages of employees in the labour market such as in care and agriculture, the influx is likely to raise wellbeing of all the residents.
Professor Maarten Vendrik
Senior Assistant Professor of Economics, Maastricht University
Neither agree nor disagree Even in the short term, an influx of migrants does not need to reduce wellbeing as long as the economic situation of the country can absorb them. It is true however that for some individuals the increasing heterogeneity in the social norms might feel threatening and therefore might impact their wellbeing. For others however this would be seen as an interesting increase in diversity that enriches society.
Professor Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
Professor of Economics, IAE-CSIC
Neither agree nor disagree The impact of immigration on the well-being of residents depends on the solidity of their identities. In fact, there is an identity crisis at the center of the anti-immigration reaction that we have witnessed throughout the western world in recent years. An interesting piece of evidence comes from Italian areas characterized by a type of immigration that does not create the two main problems usually associated to migrations: crime and competition on the labor market. In fact, these are areas where immigrants communities display with very low crime rates and no competition on the local labor market (immigrants work in distant cities and commute by train). Despite this, the perception of a large percentage of residents of these areas is to be subjected to an invasion that makes their lives insecure and precarious. The researchers conclude that what explains this puzzling evidence is the fragility of the identity of the residents. Fear of distant and strong identities prosper amidst weak identities. This identity crisis paves the way to the growing consensus of nationalist parties, with their strong identitarian trait.
Professor Stefano Bartolini
Professor of Economics, University of Sienna