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

45 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2009

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

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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 whilst other households migrate en masse. We address these selectivity issues using the randomization provided by an immigration ballot under the Pacific Access Category (PAC) of New Zealand's immigration policy. We survey applicants to the 2002-05 PAC ballots in Tonga and compare outcomes for the remaining household members of emigrants with those for members of similar households who 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 we 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 and use multiple hypothesis testing procedures to examine which impacts are robust. We find the overall impact on households left behind to be largely negative. We also find evidence that both sources of selectivity matter, leading studies which fail to adequately address them to misrepresent the impact of migration.

Keywords: wellbeing, selectivity, natural experiment, emigration, remittances

JEL Classification: J61, F22, C21

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. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4375, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1472567

John Gibson

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
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Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

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New Zealand

David John McKenzie (Contact Author)

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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