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Natural Experiment Evidence On The Effect Of Migration On Blood Pressure And Hypertension

  • John Gibson
  • Steven Stillman
  • David McKenzie
  • Halahingano Rohorua

Over 200 million people live outside their country of birth and experience large gains in material well-being by moving to where wages are higher. But the effect of this migration on health is less clear and existing evidence is ambiguous because of the potential for self-selection bias. In this paper, we use a natural experiment, comparing successful and unsuccessful applicants to a migration lottery to experimentally estimate the impact of migration on measured blood pressure and hypertension. Hypertension is a leading global health problem, as well as being an important health measure that responds quickly to migration. We use various econometric estimators to form bounds on the treatment effects since there appears to be selective non-compliance in the natural experiment. Even with these bounds the results suggest significant and persistent increases in blood pressure and hypertension, which have implications for future health budgets given the recent worldwide increases in immigration.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 22 (2013)
Issue (Month): 6 (06)
Pages: 655-672

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:22:y:2013:i:6:p:655-672
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Angrist, Joshua, 2003. "Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Theory and Practice," IZA Discussion Papers 851, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2006. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00334, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. David W.Johnston & Carol Propper & Michael A.Shields, 2007. "Comparing Subjective and Objective Measures of Health: Evidence from Hypertension for the Income/Health Gradient," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/171, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. James Heckman & Neil Hohmann & Jeffrey Smith, 1998. "Substitution and Dropout Bias in Social Experiments: A Study of an Influential Social Experiment," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9819, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  5. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 828, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Luca Degli Esposti & Giorgia Valpiani, 2004. "Pharmacoeconomic Burden of Undertreating Hypertension," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(14), pages 907-928.
  7. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David McKenzie & Steven Stillman & John Gibson, 2010. "How Important is Selection? Experimental VS. Non‐Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  9. Lindahl, Mikael, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as Exogenous of Variation in Income," IZA Discussion Papers 442, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Yaël Tibi-Levy & Gérard Pouvourville & Jérémie Westerloppe & Marion Bamberger, 2008. "The cost of treating high blood pressure in general practice in France," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 229-236, August.
  11. Steven Kennedy & James Ted McDonald & Nicholas Biddle, 2006. "The Healthy Immigrant Effect and Immigrant Selection: Evidence from Four Countries," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 164, McMaster University.
  12. Frijters, Paul & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Shields, Michael A., 2005. "The causal effect of income on health: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 997-1017, September.
  13. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2010. "Does Education Reduce the Risk of Hypertension? Estimating the Biomarker Effect of Compulsory Schooling in England," IZA Discussion Papers 4847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Steven Stillman & John Gibson & David Mckenzie, 2012. "The Impact Of Immigration On Child Health: Experimental Evidence From A Migration Lottery Program," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 62-81, 01.
  15. Michael A. Clemens & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "Income per Natural: Measuring Development for People Rather Than Places," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(3), pages 395-434.
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