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Do immigrants improve the health of natives?

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  • Giuntella, Osea
  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of immigration on health. Specifically, we merge information on individual characteristics from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984–2009) with detailed local labour market characteristics, and we then exploit the longitudinal component of the data to determine how immigration affects the health of both immigrants and natives over time. We find that immigrants to Germany are healthier than natives upon their arrival (the healthy immigrant effect) but that immigrants’ health deteriorates over time. We show that the convergence in health is heterogeneous across immigrants and occurs more rapidly among those working in more physically demanding jobs. Because immigrants are significantly more likely to work in strenuous occupations, we investigate whether changes in the spatial concentration of immigrants affect the health of the native population. Our results suggest that immigration reduces the likelihood that residents will report negative health outcomes. We show that these effects are concentrated in blue-collar occupations and are stronger among low-educated natives. Improvements in natives’ average working conditions and workloads help explain the positive effects of immigration on the health of the native population.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2015. "Do immigrants improve the health of natives?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 140-153.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:43:y:2015:i:c:p:140-153
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.06.006
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:4:p:823-853. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jhecon:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:123-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Nicodemo, Catia & Vargas-Silva, Carlos, 2016. "Immigration and the Reallocation of Work Health Risks," IZA Discussion Papers 10304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Costanza Biavaschi & Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda & Mariapia Mendola, 2018. "South–South migration and the labor market: evidence from South Africa," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 823-853.
    5. Jaeger, David A & Ruist, Joakim & Stuhler, Jan, 2018. "Shift-Share Instruments and the Impact of Immigration," CEPR Discussion Papers 12701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:53-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Escarce, José J. & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2018. "Immigration and the Health of Older Natives in Western Europe," GLO Discussion Paper Series 228, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Giuntella, Osea & Nicodemo, Catia & Vargas-Silva, Carlos, 2018. "The effects of immigration on NHS waiting times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 123-143.
    9. Cheng, Lingguo & Liu, Hong & Zhang, Ye & Zhao, Zhong, 2018. "The health implications of social pensions: Evidence from China's new rural pension scheme," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 53-77.
    10. Yaman, F. & Cubi-Molla, P., 2017. "Why Do Immigrants Report Lower Life Satisfaction?," Research Papers 001871, Office of Health Economics.
    11. repec:eee:socmed:v:183:y:2017:i:c:p:130-141 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Immigration; Occupational choice;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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