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Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?

  • Giuntella, Osea


    (University of Oxford)

  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio


    (University of Lugano)

This paper studies the effects of immigration on health. We merge information on individual characteristics from the German Socio-Economic Panel with detailed local labor market characteristics for the period 1984 to 2009. We exploit the longitudinal component of the data to analyze how immigration affects the health of both immigrants and natives over time. Immigrants are shown to be healthier than natives upon their arrival ("healthy immigrant effect"), but their health deteriorates over time spent in Germany. We show that the convergence in health is heterogeneous across immigrants and faster 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 natives' health. Our results suggest that immigration reduces residents' likelihood to report negative health outcomes by improving their working conditions and reducing the average workload. We show that these effects are concentrated in blue-collar occupations and are larger among low educated natives and previous cohorts of immigrants.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8073.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8073
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  2. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "Rethinking The Effect Of Immigration On Wages," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 152-197, 02.
  3. 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.
  4. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  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. 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.
  7. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2009. "Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?," Demography, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 535-551, August.
  8. D Amuri, Francesco & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2008. "The Labour Market Impact of Immigration in Western Germany in the 1990's," CEPR Discussion Papers 6736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Bastian Ravesteijn & Hans van Kippersluis & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What is the Role of Occupation?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-143/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jason M. Fletcher & Jody L. Sindelar & Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2009. "Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health," NBER Working Papers 15121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages," Development Working Papers 252, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  17. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2012. "Immigrants in Risky Occupations," IZA Discussion Papers 6693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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).
  21. 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.
  22. George J. Borjas & Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2011. "Substitution Between Immigrants, Natives, and Skill Groups," NBER Working Papers 17461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2006. "Immigrant Selection Systems and Immigrant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 2345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. 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.
  26. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The impact of the 1962 repatriates from Algeria on the French labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 556-572, April.
  27. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  28. repec:elg:eechap:4026_11 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Fabrizio Mazzonna & Franco Peracchi, 2009. "Aging, cognitive abilities and retirement," CEIS Research Paper 152, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 05 Dec 2012.
  30. 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.
  31. 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).
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
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