The Relationship between Early-Life Conditions in the Home Country and Adult Outcomes Among Child Immigrants in the United States

43 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2020

See all articles by Deniz Gevrek

Deniz Gevrek

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-College of Business; IZA

Z. Eylem Gevrek

University of Arizona; University of Konstanz - Department of Economics

Cahit Guven

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Abstract

We examine the impact of health and economic conditions at birth on the adult outcomes of child immigrants using the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study. Our sample consists of children from 39 countries who were brought to the United States before the age of 13. We estimate immigrant outcomes as a function of the infant mortality rate (IMR) and GDP per capita of their home country in the year of birth, controlling for birth-year, year-of-arrival and country-of-birth fixed effects, as well as demographic characteristics. IMR has a significant negative impact on English reading ability and GPA in middle school. IMR significantly decreases first job prestige, years of schooling, working hours, log earnings and income satisfaction. Some of these effects appear to be working through the lower middle school GPA. IMR does not influence self-rated health or labour market participation in adulthood, and there is no statistically significant relationship between GDP per capita and adult outcomes. Our estimates are of economic significance: the impact of being born in 1975 versus 1976 in Nicaragua in terms of the impact of IMR on earnings is equal to the gender effect on earnings, while the effect on income satisfaction of being born in Cuba in 1975 versus 1976 in terms of the impact of IMR is about equal to the father's high school completion effect. Our results cannot be explained by selection on observables: the pre-migration characteristics of children and parents are not associated significantly with the health and economic conditions at birth. Also, several tests show that our results cannot be explained by potential selection on unobservables. These results are robust to sample attrition and the inclusion of cohort trends and interaction effects between age-at-arrival and home country conditions.

Keywords: adult outcomes United States, infant mortality, birth conditions, immigrants

JEL Classification: I14, J13, J15, J28

Suggested Citation

Gevrek, Deniz and Gevrek, Zahide Eylem and Guven, Cahit, The Relationship between Early-Life Conditions in the Home Country and Adult Outcomes Among Child Immigrants in the United States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13602, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3679008

Deniz Gevrek (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-College of Business ( email )

6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
United States

Zahide Eylem Gevrek

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

University of Konstanz - Department of Economics ( email )

Konstanz, D-78457
Germany

Cahit Guven

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3215
Australia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
10
Abstract Views
105
PlumX Metrics