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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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  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Stillman, Steven, 2011. "What happens to diet and child health when migration splits households? Evidence from a migration lottery program," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 7-15, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:1:p:7-15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francisca M. Antman, 2013. "The impact of migration on family left behind," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 16, pages 293-308 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Sylvie Démurger, 2015. "Migration and families left behind," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 144-144, April.
    3. FAYE Ousmane & CISSÉ Fatou, 2011. "The effects of migration on children's activities in households at origin: Evidence from Senegal," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-58, LISER.
    4. 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.
    5. Viet Nguyen, Cuong, 2016. "Does parental migration really benefit left-behind children? Comparative evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 230-239.
    6. 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.
    7. Calogero Carletto & Jennica Larrison & Çaglar Özden, 2014. "Informing migration policies: a data primer," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 2, pages 9-41 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Botezat, Alina & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2014. "The impact of parents migration on the well-being of children left behind: Initial evidence from Romania," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-029, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Ren Mu & Alan Brauw, 2015. "Migration and young child nutrition: evidence from rural China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 631-657, July.
    10. Böhme, Marcus H. & Persian, Ruth & Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 211-227.
    11. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:4:p:1132-1157 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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).
    13. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," WIDER Working Paper Series 024, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. 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.
    15. Baldwin Kate & Bhavnani Rikhil R., 2015. "Ancillary Studies of Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 113-146, June.
    16. Amy Damon & Devon Kristiansen, 2014. "Childhood obesity in Mexico: the effect of international migration," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(6), pages 711-727, November.

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