Migration and nutrition of the left-behind individuals: Evidence from Ghana [Working Paper]


Using data from Ghana, this paper shows that migration negatively impacts the nutrition of individuals who previously co-resided with a migrant, namely the left-behind individuals. The results drawn from kernel matching difference-in-differences suggest that migration for work of an individual outside a household negatively affects the body weight of left-behind adults and the BMI-for-age z-score of left-behind children. The reduction in adult body weight is notably prominent among males and individuals with a healthy nutritional status. Conversely, the decline in BMI-for-age z-score is primarily observed in girls and children classified as overweight or obese. Among the potential mechanisms, the income channel through remittances does not offset the adverse effects for all individuals. Indeed, jointly belonging to a migrant household and receiving remittances only partially reduces the decline in the z-score of some vulnerable children left behind. On the other hand, when the household solely receives remittances without having a migrant between the survey waves considered, the BMI z-score of children tends to increase, which probably reflects the enduring effects of transfer inflows.

Adrien Gosselin-Pali
Adrien Gosselin-Pali
PhD candidate in Development Economics

PhD candidate in Development Economics at University Clermont Auvergne, CERDI, CNRS, IRD, France.