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Return migration and health outcomes in North Macedonia

Marjan Petreski (University American College Skopje, Skopje, North Macedonia; Finance Think – Economic Research and Policy Institute, Skopje, North Macedonia and Partnership for Economic Policy, Quebec, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 3 July 2021

Issue publication date: 20 September 2021




The purpose of this paper is twofold, namely, to investigate if living and working abroad influences the (subjective) health of return migrants and to understand if there are any spillovers of return-migrant members onto health conditions of the family members left behind.


To that end, this paper uses the DoTM (Development on the Move) Migration Survey 2009, as well a propensity score matching to address selectivity on observables and IV (instrumental variables) for the selectivity on unobservables.


Results suggest that when equalized on observables, return migrants have better health than non-migrants. However, the reverse causality channel (less healthy individuals are more inclined to return) works to attenuate the true effect of return migration on health. Results further suggest a positive spillover effect of return migration on the health of the family members left behind, being mainly driven by the work of remittances sent while abroad, and not by the returned wealth or by the health knowledge transfer.


This paper offers at least two novelty lines to contribute to the current sparse of knowledge. First, it is among the scarce papers, and probably the only quantitative one, to investigate the nexus between return migration and health outcomes. Second, it heavily dwells on the role of selectivity (both on observables and unobservables) in determining the true (causal) effect of return migration on health.



This paper has been produced while the author’s stay at the Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan, April–June 2016, supported by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. All errors are solely the authors. Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Petreski, M. (2021), "Return migration and health outcomes in North Macedonia", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 353-371.



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