Gendered Migrants Networks and the Health of the Left Behind: Evidence from Indonesia

Bethany Everett, University of Colorado at Boulder
Randall Kuhn, University of Denver
Rachel Silvey, University of Toronto

Recent research has begun to analyze the consequences of migration not merely on the health of migrants, but on the health and well-being of family members left behind in the migrant’s origin household or village. This paper addresses concerns over reverse causation between migration and health outcomes and endogenous selection into migration by employing a longitudinal, counterfactual framework. Preliminary findings suggest that internal migrant children reduce the likelihood of being in poor health in later years for elderly parents among the entire sample. In contrast, international migrant children appear to benefit only those elders in households with high migration propensity. These findings support three key assertions of an emerging theoretical framework on migration-health relationships: that migration benefits the left-behind, that these benefits may reflect selection based on preexisting family traits, and that the international migration process may be more subject to this sort of selection.

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Presented in Session 15: Adult Children's Migration and the Wellbeing of Older Parents in International Perspective