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Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?

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  • Osea Giuntella
  • Fabrizio Mazzonna

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Osea Giuntella & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2014. "Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 653, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Constant, Amelie F. & García-Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana & Neuman, Tzahi, 2014. "Micro and Macro Determinants of Health: Older Immigrants in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 8754, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Shoshana Neuman, 2014. "Are immigrants healthier than native residents?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 108-108, December.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2014:i:2:p:19116209 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_119 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Amelie F. Constant & Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Tzahi Neuman, 2018. "A “healthy immigrant effect” or a “sick immigrant effect”? Selection and policies matter," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 19(1), pages 103-121, January.
    6. Osea Giuntella, 2014. "Immigration and Job Disamenities," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 20-26, 07.
    7. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.

    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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