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Are Remittances Spent in a Healthy Way? Evidence from Albania

Kalaj, Ermira Hoxha (2010): Are Remittances Spent in a Healthy Way? Evidence from Albania.

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Abstract

Using household survey data for Albania, the paper investigates the effect of remittances on health capital accumulation. Total expenditure is divided into two categories: expenditure on medicines and expenditure on visits and laboratory services. The estimation is presented for two separate sub-groups, rural and urban area. In the paper both instrumental variable and propensity score matching are used to give answer to the research question about the impact of remittances in the health capital investment. The findings indicate that households increase their expenditure for medicines and other health services in the presence of remittance income. The positive relationship is statistically significant in the case of remittance receiving households living in the rural area. The magnitude is lower in the case of total expenditure for visits and laboratory. However, total expenditure for visits and laboratory are likely to have significant impact on the health outcome given their prevention nature. These findings show that remittance flows pay a heterogeneous role in the decision making process of remittance-receiving household members. However, these non-labor income flows may play an important role in supporting expenditures, especially for those living in rural areas.

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