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


This paper investigates the disruptive effect of migration on the nutritional outcomes of the left behind—individuals who previously cohabited with a migrant. Drawing on data from Ghana, I find that migration leads to reduced body weight in left-behind adults and lower BMI-for-age z-scores in left-behind children. However, a decrease in adult body weight does not necessarily indicate a deterioration in overall nutritional health. On the other hand, the decline in children’s BMI-for-age z-score indicates an evident degradation in their nutritional status, which could have lasting effects on their growth trajectories. Although remittances may not consistently mitigate these adverse effects, they can potentially yield a beneficial influence in the long run, especially for left-behind children. The main channel underlying the adverse nutritional impact on left-behind children is the short-term disruptive effect caused by migration, often leading to a negative income shock.

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

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