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Siblings’ interaction in migration decisions: who provides for the elderly left behind?

Tobias Stöhr

Journal of Population Economics, 2015, vol. 28, issue 3, 593-629

Abstract: In most poor countries, with high emigration rates, elderly people are dependent on their children for the provision of care and income. This paper is the first to explicitly model and estimate social interaction between siblings’ migration decisions in such settings. The interaction consists of two effects with opposite signs; a chain migration effect that can cause traditional caregiving structures to break down and an opposing specialization effect that increases family members’ incentives to remain at home and provide care when their siblings migrate. The estimates for Moldova, one of the countries with the highest emigration rates in the world, indicate that siblings’ interaction strongly decreases their equilibrium emigration rates. Siblings’ interaction is found to increase in line with the incentives that are assumed in the model. Hence, the paper provides evidence of the robustness of families’ informal security arrangements to large-scale emigration and has important implications for policies that aim at the population left behind. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Keywords: Migration; Social interaction; Peer effects; Elderly care; Remittances; Intra-family allocation; Migration cost; F22; J14; I19; D10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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