GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
M. Imran
Title of Paper:
International Remittances and Healthcare: Evidence from Kerala, India
Paper Proposal Text :
International remittances have become important income sources in the developing world, reaching a magnitude of US$ 440 billion in 2015. India is the largest remittance recipient country in the world, receiving US$ 70 billion in 2014. Remittances accounted for 3.4 percent of India’s GDP. The Reserve Bank of India bulletin 2015 indicated that 65 percent of foreign remittances came from unskilled and semi-skilled labourers working in the Gulf countries and skilled labourers working in the software and other information and communication technologies related areas in North America during 2008-09. International remittances have reduced India’s reliance on external aid and have provided considerable support to India’s balance of payments. It has also offset India’s merchandise trade deficit to a large extent, thereby keeping the current account deficit at modest levels since the 1990s. Though India receives the highest amount of remittances, it is not highly dependent on remittances. However, the remittances are concentrated in certain states and have a very significant impact on regional economies and remittances receiving households. Kerala being the highest remittance receiving state in India whose remittances receipts account 31 percent of its Gross State Domestic Product and 18 percent of households receive remittances mostly from gulf countries.
Remittance transfers may improve health outcomes of remittance receiving households as they relax budget constraints that limit optimal human capital investment. At the origin countries perspective, there are many studies examined the effect of remittances receipt on household’s healthcare expenditure, child anthropometric indicators, health outcomes, nutritional status, infant mortality and life-expectancy. The existing studies found that remittances are playing a vital role in the health care expenditure and access to better quality health care services in the countries of origin. Though India has been the highest remittances receiving country in the world, there is lack of studies analysing the impact of migration and remittances on health care. Therefore, we have attempted to study the effect of international migration and remittances on healthcare expenditure and access to public and private health care services among migrant and non-migrant families in kerala, India.
This study used cross-sectional household survey data from the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) – 2010 and two approaches to address selectivity and endogeneity of international migration and remittances: Instrumental variable (IV) approach and Propensity Score Matching (PSM). Following the literature, this study used migration networks as an instrument for migration and remittances. We found that the remittances receipt have significant and positive effect on healthcare expenditure. Remittances lead to a shift in access from public to private hospitals to ensure quality healthcare services. The cost of healthcare services is high in private hospitals, which poses a higher burden on the households. Remittances can reduce the burden and allow families to access healthcare facilities in the private hospitals. The empirical results vary while disaggregating the sample by rural/urban and different socio-economic groups.
These results are preliminary and the study is in working progress.