The Impacts of International Migration on Remaining Household Members: Omnibus Results from a Migration Lottery Program

46 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by John Gibson

John Gibson

University of Waikato; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

David J. McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Steven Stillman

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

The impacts of international migration on development in the sending countries, and especially the effects on remaining household members, are increasingly studied. However, comparisons of households in developing countries with and without migrants are complicated by a double-selectivity problem: households self-select into migration, and among households involved in migration, some send a subset of members with the rest remaining while other households migrate en masse. The authors address these selectivity issues using the randomization provided by an immigration ballot under the Pacific Access Category of New Zealand?s immigration policy. They survey applicants to the 2002-05 ballots in Tonga and compare outcomes for the remaining household members of emigrants with those for members of similar households that were unsuccessful in the ballots. The immigration laws determine which household members can accompany the principal migrant, providing an instrument to address the second selectivity issue. Using this natural experiment, the authors examine the myriad impacts that migration has on remaining household members, focussing on labor supply, income, durable assets, financial service usage, diet, and physical and mental health. The analysis uses multiple hypothesis testing procedures to examine which impacts are robust. The findings indicate that the overall impact on households left behind is largely negative. The findings also reveal evidence that both sources of selectivity matter, leading studies that fail to adequately address them to misrepresent the impact of migration.

Keywords: Population Policies, Access to Finance, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Housing & Human Habitats, Anthropology

Suggested Citation

Gibson, John and McKenzie, David John and Stillman, Steven, The Impacts of International Migration on Remaining Household Members: Omnibus Results from a Migration Lottery Program (June 1, 2009). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4956, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1417865

John Gibson

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

19 Milne Terrace
Island Bay
Wellington, 6002
New Zealand

David John McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Steven Stillman

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano ( email )

Via Sernesi 1
39100 Bozen-Bolzano (BZ), Bozen 39100
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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