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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 2016-051, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2016051
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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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    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.
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    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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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Thesis Thursday: Ekaterina Bordea
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-06-18 06:00:26

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Constant, Amelie F., 2020. "Time-Space Dynamics of Return and Circular Migration: Theories and Evidence," GLO Discussion Paper Series 446, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Gabriella Berloffa & Francesca Paolini, 2019. "Decomposing Immigrant Differences in Physical and Mental Health: A 'Beyond the Mean' Analysis," DEM Working Papers 2019/4, Department of Economics and Management.
    3. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 119-177, Elsevier.
    4. 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(03), pages 20-25, October.
    5. Kelleher, Dan & Barry, Luke & Hobbins, Anna & O'Neill, Stephen & Doherty, Edel & O'Neill, Ciaran, 2020. "Examining the transnational health preferences of a group of Eastern European migrants relative to a European host population using the EQ-5D-5L," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 246(C).
    6. 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.
    7. Bettin, Giulia & Sacchi, Agnese, 2020. "Health spending in Italy: The impact of immigrants," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    8. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:3:p:50000000000047 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Bousmah, Marwân-al-Qays & Combes, Jean-Baptiste Simon & Abu-Zaineh, Mohammad, 2019. "Health differentials between citizens and immigrants in Europe: A heterogeneous convergence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 235-243.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-reported health status; immigration; Europe; Israel; older population; multilevel regression; SHARE;
    All these keywords.

    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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