On June 24 Dr. Anna Janicka (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw) presented a paper titled ‘Social Humiliation and Labor Migration’.
Given the recent trends in mainstream economics, it seems natural to enquire whether various types of emotions – having them or avoiding them – may be the object of rational choice and, in consequence, influence economic behavior of individuals. One of the strongest negative emotions one may consider in this respect is humiliation. On the one hand, work – one of the basic economic activities – is likely to lead to humiliation, when performing occupations associated with low social status (or having unpleasant characteristics), such as garbage collection. On the other hand, in many developed countries the “dirtiest” jobs, or occupations which are (for various reasons) shunned by the natives of the receiving society, are often performed by immigrants. But why do migrants agree to perform abroad jobs they would not undertake at home? I will show that a natural link between humiliation and migration strategies (in particular: the choice of migration destination, duration of migration, the extent of assimilation) exists. I will explore this link from a theoretical and an empirical perspective. Empirical findings will be based on two types of data: a household survey conducted in various locations in Poland in 2007-2008, and an example of an experiment of non-market valuation (i.e., assigning monetary value to goods which do not have market prices – of which humiliation may be an example).