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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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    Cited by:

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    2. Lisa Sofie Höckel & Manuel Santos Silva & Tobias Stöhr, 2018. "Can Parental Migration Reduce Petty Corruption in Education?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 109-126.
    3. Artjoms Ivlevs & Milena Nikolova & Carol Graham, 2019. "Emigration, remittances, and the subjective well-being of those staying behind," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 113-151, January.
    4. Iddisah Sulemana & Louis Doabil & Ebenezer Bugri Anarfo, 2019. "International Remittances and Subjective Wellbeing in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Micro-level Study," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 524-539, September.
    5. Artjoms Ivlevs & Roswitha M. King, 2017. "Does emigration reduce corruption?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(3), pages 389-408, June.
    6. 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, vol. 45(3), pages 658-684.
    7. Ulrich Nguemdjo & Bruno Ventelou, 2020. "How do migrations affect under-five mortality in rural areas? Evidence from Niakhar, Senegal," AMSE Working Papers 2043, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    8. Agadjanian, Victor & Hayford, Sarah R. & Jansen, Natalie A., 2021. "Men's migration and women's mortality in rural Mozambique," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 270(C).
    9. Paulone, Sara & Ivlevs, Artjoms, 2019. "Emigration and alcohol consumption among migrant household members staying behind: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 221(C), pages 40-48.
    10. Wahba, Jackline & Wang, Chuhong, 2019. "Sons or Daughters? The Impact of Children's Migration on the Health and Well-Being of Parents Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 12370, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Christiane Timmerman & Meia Walravens & Joris Michielsen & Nevriye Acar & Lore Van Praag, 2018. "A Migration Project in Retrospect: The Case of the Ageing Zero Generation in Emirdağ," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(3), pages 260-269.
    12. 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.
    13. Chen, Simiao & Jin, Zhangfeng & Prettner, Klaus, 2020. "Can I live with you after I retire? Retirement, old age support, and internal migration of older adults in China," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 303, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    14. Meiping Sun, 2021. "The Potential Causal Effect of Hukou on Health Among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 1-10, September.
    15. Ulrich Nguemdjo & Bruno Ventelou, 2020. "How do migrations affect under-five mortality in rural areas? Evidence from Niakhar, Senegal," Working Papers halshs-03078776, HAL.
    16. Kumar, Sneha, 2021. "Offspring's labor migration and its implications for elderly parents' emotional wellbeing in Indonesia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 276(C).
    17. Ajay Bailey & Jyoti Hallad & K. S. James, 2018. "‘They had to Go’: Indian Older Adults’ Experiences of Rationalizing and Compensating the Absence of Migrant Children," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-15, June.
    18. Liu, Chang & Eriksson, Tor & Yi, Fujin, 2021. "Offspring migration and nutritional status of left-behind older adults in rural China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    19. De Neve, Jan-Walter & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2017. "Spillovers between siblings and from offspring to parents are understudied: A review and future directions for research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 56-61.
    20. 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.
    21. Juliane Scheffel & Yiwei Zhang, 2019. "How does internal migration affect the emotional health of elderly parents left-behind?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 953-980, July.
    22. 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.

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    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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