Migration of Adult Children and Elderly Left Behind

Tobias Stöhr , Kiel Institute for the World Economy

In many poorer countries with high emigration rates elderly are left behind without care when their children migrate. Without a functioning market in private care migrants face a difficult trade-off between working their way out of poverty and providing care once their parents become frail or sick. I develop a non-cooperative model of siblings' interaction which explains why even altruistic families might leave elderly behind without care. The model predicts that chain migration can lead to a breakdown of traditional caregiving structures. When siblings migrate increasing marginal utility from supplying care may however overcompensate this effect. This explains why not everyone becomes a migrant in the face of very large wage differentials. The models' predictions are tested using a novel dataset for Moldova and found to be a better description of reality than those derived from some existing models of migration. The empirical analysis suggests that migration and staying to provide care are strategic complements for children of elderly parents in most families.

About the speaker
More information on the speaker can be found here: http://www.merit.unu.edu/about/profile.php?id=1826

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 10 April 2013

Time: 12:30 - 13:30