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Unformatted text preview: Journal of Identity and Migration Studies Volume 1, number 2, 2007 67 Central and Eastern Europeans Migrants’ Subjective Quality of Life. A Comparative Study Sergiu Bălţătescu Abstract: There is no general agreement among scholars on the consequences of labor migration on the sending countries. Some argue that the migration would increase the quality of life of the families or communities involved, giving support for democracy and market reforms in these countries, while others share the view that the brain drain and fiscal losses would have long term effects on the sending countries’ development. This paper takes another approach, focusing on the migrant persons’ subjective quality of life. Using data issued in the first two rounds of the European Social Survey (2002/2003, 2004/2005), the Eastern European immigrants’ satisfaction with their lives as a whole and with the social and political environment is measured. They report lower satisfaction with life as a whole, but higher satisfaction with the societal conditions than the natives and other kind of immigrants. Explanation lies in the different sources of these evaluations: when evaluating their overall satisfaction, the immigrants rely on their experiences in their receiving countries, while when evaluating the societal conditions they compare these to those from the sending countries. The fact that they show higher levels of satisfaction with the societal conditions than the other immigrants also supports this hypothesis, because the former are more recent and less accommodated to the receiving society than the latter. Keywords: immigration in Europe, economic migration, citizenship, quality of life, subjective well-being, social attitudes, social comparison Introduction The relationship between migration and development is a recent and promising study area 3 although there is no general agreement on the main conclusions of the literature. Some scholars share the view that the migration would increase the quality of life of the families or the communities involved, reducing the extent, the depth and the severity of poverty 4 and providing 3 Ninna Nyberg-Sørensen, Nicholas Van Hear, and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, "The Migration- Development Nexus" International Migration 40 no. 5 (2002).. 4 Richard H. Adams, Jr. and John M. Page, "Do International Migration and Remittances Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries?," World Development 33, no. 10 (2005). Sergiu BĂLŢĂTESCU JIMS - Volume 1, number 2, 2007 68 opportunities for better education and health 5 . This, it is argued, would increase the support for democracy and market economy in these countries. Others suggest that we deal here only short-term effects 6 . The brain drain, the fiscal losses, and the lack of the internal pressure towards democratization and development 7 would have long term negative effects on the sending countries’ quality of life....
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