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J Health Econ. 2018 Nov 2;63:19-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2018.10.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Heterogeneity in long term health outcomes of migrants within Italy.

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University of Rome Tor Vergata, CEIS Tor Vergata, Italy; CHP-PCOR Stanford University, United States. Electronic address:
Hunter College, United States; The Graduate Center, CUNY, United States; NBER, United States.
CEIS, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.


This article examines the long term physical and mental health effects of internal migration focusing on a relatively unique migration experience concentrated over a short period between 1950 and 1970 from the South to the North of Italy. We find a positive and statistically significant association between migration, its timing and physical health for migrant females, which we show are likely to represent rural females in both the early and the late cohort. We find less defined evidence of migration-health association for mental health. We link our findings to the economic transition and labor market transformation that Italy witnessed in that era. Male migrants were likely to be positively selected to migration, but harsh working conditions were likely to downplay this differential. On the contrary, women migrants, by and large, would not engage in the formal labor market avoiding the ill effects of working environments, at the same time benefiting from better living conditions and health care in the destination regions.


Finite mixture models; Italy; Mental health status; Migration decisions; Physical health status

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