Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Health Disparities for Immigrants: Theory and Evidence from Canada

Lebihan, Laetitia and Mao Takongmo, Charles Olivier and McKellips, Fanny (2018): Health Disparities for Immigrants: Theory and Evidence from Canada.

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Abstract

Few empirical studies have been conducted to analyse the disparities in health variables affecting immigrants in a given country. To our knowledge, no theoretical analysis has been conducted to explain health disparities for immigrants between regions in the same country that differs in term of languages spoken and income. In this paper, we use the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) to compare multiple health measures among immigrants in Quebec, immigrants in the rest of Canada and Canadian-born individuals. We propose a simple structural model and conduct an empirical analysis in order to assess possible channels that can explain the health disparities for immigrants between two regions of the same country. Our results show that well-being and health indicators worsen significantly for immigrants in Quebec, compared to their counterparts in the rest of Canada and Canadian-born individuals. Additional econometric analysis also shows that life satisfaction is statistically and significantly associated with health outcomes. The proposed structural model predicts that, when the decision to migrate to a particular area is based on income alone, and if the fixed costs associated with the language barrier are large, immigrants may face health issues.

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