The effect of hosting 3.4 million refugees on native population mortality

Hızıroğlu Aygün A., Kirdar M. G., Tuncay B.

Journal Of Health Economics, vol.80, pp.1-35, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 80
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2021.102534
  • Journal Name: Journal Of Health Economics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Abstracts in Social Gerontology, Aerospace Database, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CINAHL, Communication Abstracts, EconLit, EMBASE, Geobase, MEDLINE, Metadex, Public Administration Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-35
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


As of the end of 2017, 3.4 million Syrian refugees lived in Turkey. These refugees left a country where the health system was utterly broken. Several studies report that Syrian refugees faced numerous diseases during their exodus, brought certain infectious diseases to the hosting communities, and have a high incidence of health care utilization. Moreover, they have much higher fertility rates than natives. We examine the effect of Syrian refugees on the health care resources in Turkey and on natives’ mortality—with a focus on infant, child, and elderly mortality. Our OLS results yield suggestive evidence of an adverse effect of the refugee shock on infant and child mortality. However, we find that this is a result of endogenous settlement patterns of refugees. Once we account for the endogeneity using a plausibly exogenous instrument, we find no evidence of an effect on native mortality for any age group. We also analyze the refugees’ pressure on the health care services in Turkey and the government's response to understand our findings on mortality outcomes.