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A 'healthy immigrant effect' or a 'sick immigrant effect'? Selection and policies matter

Author

Listed:
  • Constant, Amelie F.

    () (UNU-MERIT, and Princeton University)

  • Garcia-Munoz, Teresa

    () (University of Granada)

  • Neuman, Shoshana

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

  • Neuman, Tzahi

    () (Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center)

Abstract

Previous literature in a variety of countries has documented a "healthy immigrant effect" (HIE). Accordingly, immigrants arriving in the host country are, on average, healthier than comparable natives. However, their health status dissipates with additional years in the country. HIE is explained through the positive self-selection of the healthy immigrants as well as the positive selection, screening and discrimination applied by host countries. In this paper we study the health of immigrants within the context of selection and migration policies. Using SHARE data we examine the HIE comparing Israel and sixteen countries in Europe that have fundamentally different migration policies. Israel has virtually unrestricted open gates for Jewish people around the world, who in turn have ideological rather than economic considerations to move. European countries have selective policies with regards to the health, education and wealth of migrants, who also self-select themselves. Our results provide evidence that a) immigrants to Israel have compromised health and suffer from many health ailments, making them less healthy than comparable natives. Their health does not improve for up to 20 years of living in Israel, after which they become similar to natives; b) immigrants to Europe have better health than natives and their health advantage persists up to six years from their arrival, after which they are not significantly different than natives except in one case in which the health of immigrants became worse than that of natives after 21 years. Our results are important for migration policy and relevant for domestic health policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Constant, Amelie F. & Garcia-Munoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana & Neuman, Tzahi, 2016. "A 'healthy immigrant effect' or a 'sick immigrant effect'? Selection and policies matter," MERIT Working Papers 051, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2016051
    as

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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2016/wp2016-051.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2006. "Unhealthy assimilation: Why do immigrants converge to American health status levels?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 337-360, May.
    3. McDonald, James Ted & Kennedy, Steven, 2005. "Is migration to Canada associated with unhealthy weight gain? Overweight and obesity among Canada's immigrants," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(12), pages 2469-2481, December.
    4. Jylhä, Marja, 2009. "What is self-rated health and why does it predict mortality? Towards a unified conceptual model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 307-316, August.
    5. Shoshana Neuman & Tzahi Neuman & Teresa García-Muñoz, 2014. "Health Risk Factors among the Older European Populations: Personal and Country Effects," Working Papers 2014-07, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    6. Aïda Solé-Auró & Montserrat Guillén & Eileen Crimmins, 2012. "Health care usage among immigrants and native-born elderly populations in eleven European countries: results from SHARE," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(6), pages 741-754, December.
    7. Liam Delaney & Alan Fernihough & James Smith, 2013. "Exporting Poor Health: The Irish in England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 2013-2035, December.
    8. Nicholas Biddle & Steven Kennedy & James Ted Mcdonald, 2007. "Health Assimilation Patterns Amongst Australian Immigrants," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(260), pages 16-30, March.
    9. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2014. "Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?," IZA Discussion Papers 8073, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Shoshana Neuman, 2014. "Are immigrants healthier than native residents?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 108-108, December.
    11. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2009. "Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(3), pages 535-551, August.
    12. Grove, Natalie J. & Zwi, Anthony B., 2006. "Our health and theirs: Forced migration, othering, and public health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 1931-1942, April.
    13. Yinon Cohen & Yitchak Haberfeld, 2007. "Self-selection and earnings assimilation: Immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel and the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(3), pages 649-668, August.
    14. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2008. "Immigrant Selection Systems And Immigrant Health," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 555-578, October.
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    17. Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2016. "The Acceleration of Immigrant Unhealthy Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 9664, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Udo Schneider & Christian Pfarr & Brit Schneider & Volker Ulrich, 2012. "I feel good! Gender differences and reporting heterogeneity in self-assessed health," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(3), pages 251-265, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kwak, Kyunghwa, 2016. "An evaluation of the healthy immigrant effect with adolescents in Canada: Examinations of gender and length of residence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 87-95.
    2. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_119 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Amelie F. Constant, 2017. "The Healthy Immigrant Paradox and Health Convergence," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(3), pages 20-25, October.
    4. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-reported health status; immigration; Europe; Israel; older population; multilevel regression; SHARE;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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