Micro- and Macro Determinants of Health: Older Immigrants versus Natives in Europe

Dr. Teresa Garcia-Muñoz , University of Granada

We study the health determinants of European immigrants over the age of fifty, comparing them to natives. The unique Survey of Health Aging and Retirement (SHARE) is used, and augmented with macroeconomic information about the one hundred and fifteen immigrant origin countries and seventeen European host countries. Using Multilevel Analysis we can best capture the within- and between countries variation and produce reliable results. It is found that during the first five years after arrival, immigrants report higher levels of health compared to natives (the "healthy immigrant effect" – HIE). This "healthy immigrant effect" is evidenced when we study immigrants by years-since-migration (YSM): the longer they stay in the host country, the worse their health-status becomes. As years-since-migration pass by, the health of immigrants deteriorates and becomes the same as that of comparable natives. The level of economic development of both the origin and the host country affect positively the individuals’ health, but the effect of the host country is much more pronounced. It appears that positive and negative deviations (of the host from the origin country) have different impacts on individual health: an increase in a positive deviation (the country of origin is more developed compared to the host country – a ‘loss’ for the immigrating individual) leads to a decrease in the immigrant’s subjective-health, while an increase in the absolute negative deviation (a ‘gain’ for the immigrating person) leads to an increase in the immigrant’s subjective-health. These differential effects can be explained as some variant of the Loss-Aversion Theory.

About the speaker

Teresa Garcia-Muñoz is an Associate Professor at the Department of Quantitative Methods of the University of Granada (Spain). Her research interests include happiness, subjective wellbeing, subjective health, migration, and economics of religion. She coordinated and participated in several competitive national research projects. Her papers were published in: The European Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Population Economics, Economics and Philosophy, Judgment and Decision Making, International Journal of Social Welfare, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, and Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (among others)

Date: 04 May 2017

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CEST