Do refugees with better mental health better integrate? Evidence from the Building a New Life in Australia longitudinal survey

66 Pages Posted: 27 May 2022

See all articles by Hai-Anh Dang

Hai-Anh Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Global Labor Organization (GLO); Vietnam National University Ha Noi

Trong-Anh Trinh

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Paolo Verme

World Bank Group; University of Turin - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 27, 2022

Abstract

Hardly any evidence exists on the effects of mental illness on refugee labor outcomes. We offer the first study on this topic in the context of Australia, one of the host countries with the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. Analysing the Building a New Life in Australia longitudinal survey, we exploit the variations in traumatic experiences of refugees interacted with post-resettlement time periods to causally identify the impacts of refugee mental health. We find that worse mental health, as measured by a one-standard-deviation increase in the Kessler mental health score, reduces the probability of employment by 14.1% and labor income by 26.8%. We also find some evidence of adverse impacts of refugees’ mental illness on their children’s mental health and education performance. These effects appear more pronounced for refugees that newly arrive or are without social networks, but they may be ameliorated with government support.

Keywords: refugees, mental health, labour outcomes, instrumental variable, BNLA longitudinal survey, Australia

JEL Classification: I15, J15, J21, J61, O15

Suggested Citation

Dang, Hai-Anh H. and Trinh, Trong-Anh and Verme, Paolo, Do refugees with better mental health better integrate? Evidence from the Building a New Life in Australia longitudinal survey (May 27, 2022). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 11/22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4120931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4120931

Hai-Anh H. Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
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HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/haianhhdang/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

Vietnam National University Ha Noi ( email )

Trong-Anh Trinh (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Paolo Verme

World Bank Group ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

University of Turin - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Po, 53
Torino, 10124
Italy

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