Does social comparison affect immigrants’ happiness and life satisfaction? A European perspective

Manuela Stranges, Università della Calabria
Alessandra Venturini, University of Turin
Daniele Vignoli, Università di Firenze

This paper focuses on immigrant's life satisfaction and concentrates – for the first time in the European context – on how the social comparison with two reference groups (natives and other immigrants) within the host country may affect immigrant's life satisfaction. Using data from six rounds of the European Social Survey, we proxied the level of “social comparison” by constructing two measures of economic distance that compare each immigrant with the average of the group of natives and the group of immigrants with the same characteristics. Preliminary results indicate that immigrant's life satisfaction increases as the disadvantage between the immigrant and the average value of each of the two reference groups becomes smaller (or, eventually, becomes advantage). The effect of the social comparison with natives appears larger than the social comparison with immigrants and, in both cases it is stronger for individuals with higher level of education.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3