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Emigration’s Heterogeneous Impact on Children’s Wellbeing in Punjab, Pakistan

Rabia Arif, Theresa Chaudhry and Azam Chaudhry

Child Indicators Research, 2023, vol. 16, issue 3, No 14, 1295 pages

Abstract: Abstract We investigate the impact of the migration of a household member who is potentially a caregiver on child health and schooling outcomes in Pakistan. We use micro-level cross-sectional data on more than 600,000 children from multiple rounds of the UN’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) dataset from 2008–2018 for Punjab province. We implement a new instrumental variable to address the endogeneity of the migration decision, comprising a triple interaction of nighttime light intensity of the major destination countries, historic migration rates at the district level, and the number of adult males in a household. The absence of the migrating member of the household negatively (positively) affects younger (older) children: the short-term nutritional status of children under age five is harmed, while children aged 5–17 are more likely to be enrolled in school. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for mother, child, and household characteristics, in addition to location and survey year fixed effects. The negative impact on nutritional status for children under five years is smaller for boys in urban areas, in wealthier households, and in households with more educated mothers. However, the positive impact of migration on schooling outcomes is driven by girls, families in rural areas, and wealthier households.

Keywords: Migration; Child development; Health Outcomes; Schooling Outcomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D04 E22 I21 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1007/s12187-023-10014-4

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