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Social networks, information and health care utilization: Evidence from undocumented immigrants in Milan

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  • Devillanova, Carlo

Abstract

This paper uses a novel dataset and research design to examine the effects of information networks on immigrants' access to health care. The dataset consists of an unusually large sample of undocumented immigrants and contains a direct indicator of information networks--whether an immigrant was referred to health care opportunities by a strong social tie (relative or friend). This measure allows to overcome some of the major identification issues that afflict most of the existing literature on network effects and to concentrate on one of the channels through which social contacts might operate. The analysis focuses on the time spent in Italy before an immigrant first receives medical assistance. Estimates indicate that networks significantly foster health care utilization: after controlling for all available individual characteristics and for ethnic heterogeneity, I find that relying on a strong social tie reduces the time to visit by 30%. The effect of information networks is stable across specifications and it is relatively large. Further investigation seems to confirm the quantitative importance of networks as an information device.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 265-286

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:265-286

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gil S. Epstein & Odelia (Cohen) Heizler, 2013. "Minimum wages and the creation of illegal migration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1306, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Furtado, Delia & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos, 2012. "Immigrant Networks and the Take-Up of Disability Programs: Evidence from US Census Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Ciro Avitabile & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Screening Tests, Information, and the Health-Education Gradient," CSEF Working Papers 187, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 28 Apr 2008.
  4. Adelman, Sarah, 2013. "Keep your friends close: The effect of local social networks on child human capital outcomes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 284-298.
  5. Johnston, David W. & Lordan, Grace, 2012. "Discrimination makes me sick! An examination of the discrimination–health relationship," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 99-111.

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