Health Selectivity of Migration: A Longitudinal Analysis of Health and Internal Migration in Indonesia

Yao Lu, University of California, Los Angeles
Donald J. Treiman, University of California, Los Angeles

Previous migration studies have shown that immigrants are generally healthier than the native-born populations of receiving countries, a result generally attributed to the positive selection of immigrants with respect to health. However, the health selectivity of migrants is often confounded with the causal effect of migration on health. Using high-quality longitudinal data from Indonesia with rich retrospective histories, we explicitly test the health selectivity hypothesis with respect to internal migration, examining whether pre-migration health status affects the likelihood of migration by comparing those from the sending population who do and do not move. Adjusting for unobserved heterogeneity (via fixed-effect models) and conducting sensitivity analysis, we find that migrants in Indonesia do tend to be selected with respect to health an that results are relavitely robust to household unobserved heterogeneity. However, the effect of health on migration varies by different types of migration and distinct dimensions of health.

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Presented in Session 64: Migration and Wellbeing in Developing Countries