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Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova

Marcus Böhme, Ruth Persian and Tobias Stöhr

Journal of Health Economics, 2015, vol. 39, issue C, 211-227

Abstract: Increasing labor migration and simultaneous aging of societies are two important demographic developments many poor countries face. Elderly people who are left behind may experience a decrease in welfare when their children migrate. This paper investigates the effect of migration on various dimensions of elderly health using unique data from Moldova, which has one of the highest emigration rates in the world. We find positive migration effects on body mass index (BMI), mobility and self-reported health. No effects are found on depression and cognitive capacity. We find evidence that these positive outcomes are linked to an income effect which leads to improvements in diet and identify a reallocation of time use from subsistence farming to leisure and sleep which may have further beneficial effects. These positive effects seem to compensate the elderly for decreasing social contact with their migrant family members.

Keywords: International migration; Elderly health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 I12 I15 J14 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova (2013) Downloads
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