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What happens to diet and child health when migration splits households? Evidence from a migration lottery program

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Author Info

  • Gibson, John
  • McKenzie, David
  • Stillman, Steven

Abstract

The impact of migration on food security and child health is likely to differ depending on whether children themselves migrate or whether they remain behind while other household members migrate. However, existing studies have not been able to examine how impacts differ in these two scenarios because parallel data are required for both the sending and receiving country. Moreover, self-selection into migration makes unbiased estimation of either impact difficult. We overcome these problems by using a unique survey of Tongan households that applied to migrate to New Zealand through a migrant quota which selects households through a random ballot. This survey covers both migrant children in New Zealand and non-migrant children in Tonga, with the migration policy rules providing a source of exogenous variation for identifying impacts. Our estimates of short-run impacts show that diets diverge upon migration: children who migrate experience improvements, while diets worsen for children who remain. There is also suggestive evidence of a divergence in health outcomes, with increases in weight-for-age and height-for-age found for migrant children, and decreases found for children who remain behind while other household members migrate.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 7-15

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:1:p:7-15

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

Related research

Keywords: Migration Remittances Child health Diet Natural experiment;

References

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  1. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 499-532, 06.
  2. David J. McKenzie, 2006. "The Consumer Response to the Mexican Peso Crisis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 139-172.
  3. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  4. David J. McKenzie & Nicole Hildebrandt, 2005. "The Effects of Migration on Child Health in Mexico," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  5. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  6. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  7. Acosta, Pablo & Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lopez, J. Humberto, 2007. "The impact of remittances on poverty and human capital : evidence from Latin American household surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4247, The World Bank.
  8. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  9. Sahn, David E. & Alderman, Harold, 1997. "On the determinants of nutrition in Mozambique: The importance of age-specific effects," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 577-588, January.
  10. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
  11. Shawn Kanaiaupuni & Katharine Donato, 1999. "Migradollars and mortality: The effects of migration on infant survival in Mexico," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 339-353, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Botezat, Alina & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2014. "The Impact of Parents Migration on the Well-being of Children Left Behind: Initial Evidence from Romania," IZA Discussion Papers 8225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Marcus Böhme & Ruth Persian & Tobias Stoehr, 2013. "Alone but Better Off? Adult Child Migration and Health of Elderly Parents in Moldova," Kiel Working Papers 1876, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. FAYE Ousmane & CISSÉ Fatou, 2011. "The effects of migration on children's activities in households at origin: Evidence from Senegal," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-58, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  4. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary experiments: Opportunities and challenges," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Carletto, Calogero & Covarrubias, Katia & Maluccio, John A., 2011. "Migration and child growth in rural Guatemala," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 16-27, February.
  6. de Brauw, Alan & Mu, Ren, 2012. "Unattended but not undernourished: young children left behind in rural China:," IFPRI discussion papers 1191, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Narazani, Edlira, 2013. "The impact of Migration on Infant Mortality Reduction in Albania," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201315, University of Turin.
  8. Antman, Francisca M., 2012. "The Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 6374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. David McKenzie, 2012. "Learning about migration through experiments," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1207, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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