Title: Is the European refugee crisis a potential threat to public health? Evidence from Italy

Authors: Jay Bhattacharya; Giorgia Marini

Addresses: Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University, 117 Encina Commons, Stanford, California 94305, USA ' Department of Juridical and Economic Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy

Abstract: We examine the impact of both disembarkations (the raw number of disembarked people) and integrated refugees (the number of disembarked people identified as asylum seekers and integrated in the country) on a broad set of infectious diseases and healthcare expenditure, respectively on a panel of 23 (1998-2020) and 14 years (2005-2018) for 20 Italian regions. We find a statistically significant and clinically meaningful correlation between refugee influx (measured as the number of disembarked people) and some diseases. These results pose some important questions on screening and prevention, costs associated with them and changes to the local epidemiology. Moreover, as regions with higher refugee influx experienced higher healthcare expenditure in the year the refugee influx occurred, a sustained refugee influx may have an impact on healthcare costs, which may raise a problem of sustainability of the national healthcare system.

Keywords: refugees; infectious diseases; healthcare expenditure; public health; Italy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEE.2024.137910

International Journal of Computational Economics and Econometrics, 2024 Vol.14 No.2, pp.172 - 196

Received: 15 Aug 2021
Accepted: 10 Jun 2022

Published online: 08 Apr 2024 *

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