How Does Adult Child Migration Affect the Health of Elderly Parents Left Behind? Evidence from Mexico

40 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010

See all articles by Francisca Antman

Francisca Antman

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 25, 2010

Abstract

This paper considers whether the health of elderly parents is adversely affected by the international migration of their children. Estimation of a causal effect is complicated by the fact that children may migrate in response to a parent's health status and there may be other unobserved factors influencing both parental health and child migration. I address this endogeneity problem by using instrumental variables methods where I instrument for having a child in the U.S. with the sex and married ratios of the children of the elderly respondents. To ensure the instruments are not influencing elderly health directly, I include children's contributions to their parents in the analysis. I also perform falsification tests which support the view that the causal mechanism is operating through children's migration. Overall, the evidence suggests that having a child migrate to the U.S. raises the probability that the elderly parent in Mexico will be in poor physical health. I conclude by exploring the possibility that the deleterious effects of children's migration on mental health are driving this relationship.

Keywords: elderly, health, migration

JEL Classification: O15, J14, D13, I12, F22

Suggested Citation

Antman, Francisca, How Does Adult Child Migration Affect the Health of Elderly Parents Left Behind? Evidence from Mexico (March 25, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1578465 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1578465

Francisca Antman (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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