Skip to main content

The Well-Being of Nations: Estimating Welfare from International Migration

System Working Paper 19-11 | Published November 26, 2019

Download PDF

Authors

Sanghoon Lee University of British Columbia

Seung Hoon Lee Georgia Institute of Technology

Jeffrey Lin Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

The Well-Being of Nations: Estimating Welfare from International Migration

Abstract

The limitations of GDP as a measure of welfare are well known. We propose a new method of estimating the well-being of nations. Using gross bilateral international migration flows and a discrete choice model in which everyone in the world chooses a country in which to live, we estimate each country’s overall quality of life. Our estimates, by relying on revealed preference, complement previous estimates of economic well-being that consider only income or a small number of factors, or rely on structural assumptions about how these factors contribute to well-being.