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Migration, Economic Crisis and Child Growth in Rural Guatemala : Insights from the Great Recession (Inglês)

Migration has been demonstrated by various studies to be closely linked to improvements in individual- and household-level outcomes. Rather than examining the effects of migration, this paper explores whether an economic shock in United States negatively affected migrant households in rural Guatemala. Treating the Great Recession as a natural experiment affecting migrant and non-migrant households differently, the paper puts the spotlight on the effect on child anthropometry, including longer-term indicators of height-for-age z-scores. Panel data on children and multiple children in households enable double- and triple-difference estimation. In relative terms, migrant households fared far worse than non-migrant households over the period. In particular, large advantages in child anthropometric status for the youngest children in migrant households in 2008, just prior to the crisis, were substantially diminished four years later. The findings underscore the possible fragility of the benefits of migration, particularly in the face of a substantial economic shock, and point to the potential importance of deepening social safety nets.

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