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Identifying the effects of migration on parental health: Evidence from left-behind elders in China

Author

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  • Yi, Fujin
  • Liu, Chang
  • Xu, Zhigang

Abstract

This study pioneers the application of the New Economics of Labor Migration theory to outline and estimate two opposite effects of labor loss driven by the migration and remittances of adult children on the health of left-behind elderly parents through the changing rural market constraints. We use China's rural household survey data and simultaneous equation econometric techniques to estimate the effects of migration on the physical and mental health of left-behind elders. Results indicate that the loss of labor due to migration has a significantly negative effect on the health of left-behind elders, but remittances from migrants can compensate for the adverse effect. This study provides a comprehensive understanding that remittances from migration relax the constraints on household resource allocations in undeveloped rural areas with imperfect market conditions. Overall, left-behind elderly parents benefit from migrant children both physically and mentally.

Suggested Citation

  • Yi, Fujin & Liu, Chang & Xu, Zhigang, 2019. "Identifying the effects of migration on parental health: Evidence from left-behind elders in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 218-236.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:54:y:2019:i:c:p:218-236
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2018.11.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Left-behind elders; Migration; Remittance; Labor loss; Health;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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