Unhealthy Immigrant Sleep Assimilation

Luca Stella , Bocconi University
Francesco Billari, Bocconi University
Osea Giuntella
Fabrizio Mazzonna, Universita' della Svizzera Italiana

Research has documented the presence of a healthy immigrant effect, that becomes eroded over time, constituting a sort of 'unhealthy assimilation'. Health-related lifestyles may play a relevant role in this kind of assimilation. We here point to a specific mechanism: sleep. Using data from the US and Germany, we document that immigrants sleep significantly more than natives upon arrival, but their 'sleep advantage' dissipates with time spent in the hosting country. We then explore the heterogeneity in the assimilation process by education and occupation, exploiting the different socio-economic gradient of sleep in the two countries. While in the US the higher opportunity cost of time plays a decisive role, working condition and job strain appear to be a main factor explaining sleep trajectories of immigrants in Germany.

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 Presented in Session 64. Immigrants' Health