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Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova

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  • Böhme, Marcus H.
  • Persian, Ruth
  • Stöhr, Tobias

Abstract

Increasing labor migration and simultaneous aging of societies are two important demographic developments many poor countries face. Elderly people who are left behind may experience a decrease in welfare when their children migrate. This paper investigates the effect of migration on various dimensions of elderly health using unique data from Moldova, which has one of the highest emigration rates in the world. We find positive migration effects on body mass index (BMI), mobility and self-reported health. No effects are found on depression and cognitive capacity. We find evidence that these positive outcomes are linked to an income effect which leads to improvements in diet and identify a reallocation of time use from subsistence farming to leisure and sleep which may have further beneficial effects. These positive effects seem to compensate the elderly for decreasing social contact with their migrant family members.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:39:y:2015:i:c:p:211-227 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.09.001
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    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0442-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nikolova, Milena & Roman, Monica & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2017. "Left behind but doing good? Civic engagement in two post-socialist countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 658-684.
    3. Höckel, Lisa Sofie & Santos Silva, Manuel & Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "Can parental migration reduce petty corruption in education?," Ruhr Economic Papers 597, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. repec:eee:socmed:v:183:y:2017:i:c:p:56-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tamar Khitarishvili, 2016. "Gender Dimensions of Inequality in the Countries of Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Western CIS," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_858, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Scheffel, Juliane & Zhang, Yiwei, 2016. "How Does Internal Migration Affect the Emotional Health of Elderly Parents Left-Behind?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145663, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Tobias Stöhr, 2015. "Siblings’ interaction in migration decisions: who provides for the elderly left behind?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 593-629, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International migration; Elderly health;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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