Working paper abstract

#2013-043

The impact of migration on children left behind in Moldova

Franziska Gassmann, Melissa Siegel, Michaella Vanore & Jennifer Waidler

This paper empirically evaluates the well-being of children "left behind" by migrant household members in Moldova. Using data derived from a nationally-representative, large-scale household survey conducted between September 2011 and February 2012 among 3,255 households (1,801 of which contained children aged 0-17) across Moldova, different dimensions of child well-being are empirically evaluated. Well-being of children in Moldova is divided into eight different dimensions, each of which is comprised of several indicators. Each indicator is examined individually and then aggregated into an index. Well-being outcomes are then compared by age group, primary caregiver, migration status of the household (current migrant, return migrant, or no migration experience), and by who has migrated within the household. It was found that migration in and of itself is not associated with negative outcomes on children's well-being in any of the dimensions analysed, nor does it matter who in the household has migrated. Children living in return migrant households, however, attain higher rates of well-being in specific dimensions like emotional health and material well-being. The age of the child and the material living standards experienced by the household are much stronger predictors of well-being than household migration status in a number of different dimensions. The results suggest that migration does not play a significant role in shaping child well-being outcomes, contrary to the scenarios described in much past research. This paper is the first (to the authors' knowledge) to link migration and multidimensional child poverty.

JEL classification: I32, F22, J61

Keywords: Moldova, migration, poverty, child poverty, multi-dimensional poverty