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Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?

  • Osea Giuntella
  • Fabrizio Mazzonna

This paper studies the effects of immigration on health. We merge information on individual characteristics from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2010) with detailed local labour market characteristics and exploit the longitudinal component of the data to analyse how immigration affects the health of both immigrants and natives over time. Upon their arrival, immigrants are found to be healthier than the natives (healthy immigrant effect), but their health deteriorates over time spent in Germany. We show that the convergence in health is heterogeneous across immigrants and occurs more rapidly among those working in more physically demanding jobs. Immigrants are significantly more likely to work in strenuous occupations. In light of these facts, 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 report negative health outcomes. We show that these effects are concentrated in blue-collar occupations and are larger among low educated natives and previous cohorts of immigrants. The improvement in the average working conditions and workload of natives contributes to explain the positive effect of immigration on the health of the native population.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.464633.de/diw_sp0653.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 653.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp653
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  1. Giovanni Peri & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2006. "Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages," Working Papers 634, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  4. Osea Giuntella, 2012. "Do immigrants squeeze natives out of bad schedules? Evidence from Italy," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
  5. Gundi Knies & C. Katharina Spieß, 2007. "Regional Data in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)," Data Documentation 17, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. David Card, 1996. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Working Papers 747, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. D'Amuri, Francesco & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2010. "The labor market impact of immigration in Western Germany in the 1990s," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 550-570, May.
  8. Akay, Alpaslan & Constant, Amelie F. & Giulietti, Corrado, 2012. "The Impact of Immigration on the Well-Being of Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 6630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
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  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages," Development Working Papers 252, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  13. Ravesteijn, Bastian & van Kippersluis, Hans & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What is the Role of Occupation?," MPRA Paper 50321, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Fabrizio Mazzonna & Franco Peracchi, 2009. "Aging, cognitive abilities and retirement," CEIS Research Paper 152, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 05 Dec 2012.
  15. George J. Borjas & Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Imperfect Substitution between Immigrants and Natives: A Reappraisal," NBER Working Papers 13887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Axel Börsch-Supan & Hendrik Jürges, 2012. "Disability, Pension Reform, and Early Retirement in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Historical Trends in Mortality and Health, Employment, and Disability Insurance Participatio, pages 277-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Rachel M. Friedberg & J. Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Working Papers 95-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  18. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. William J. Carrington & Pedro Lima, 1996. "The impact of 1970s repatriates from Africa on the Portuguese labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(2), pages 330-347, January.
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  21. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Johannes Velling, 1997. "Employment Effects Of Immigration To Germany: An Analysis Based On Local Labor Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 594-604, November.
  22. Richard Burkhauser & Mathis Schroeder, 2007. "Comparing Economic Outcomes of Populations with Disabilities - A Method for Comparing the Economic Outcomes of the Working-Age Population with Disabilities in Germany and United States," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(2), pages 227-258.
  23. Giuntella, Osea, 2013. "Why Does the Health of Immigrants Deteriorate? Evidence from Birth Records," IZA Discussion Papers 7588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Bonin, Holger, 2005. "Wage and Employment Effects of Immigration to Germany: Evidence from a Skill Group Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 1875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2006. "Unhealthy assimilation: Why do immigrants converge to American health status levels?," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 337-360, May.
  26. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2009. "Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?," Working Papers 0901, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  27. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
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  32. repec:dgr:uvatin:20130143 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2005. "The Impact of Immigration on the British Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F324-F341, November.
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