The Political Economy of Immigrant Health : An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Social Capital and the Immigrant Paradox




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This dissertation is framed as a body of interdisciplinary, multilevel and multisectoral approaches to explore immigrant health. First, I clarify the public policy environment through which immigrant health is regulated to identify gaps and inconsistencies in current policies. This is accomplished through a conceptual paper that illustrates existing public policies and various health-related political and economic considerations of immigrants in Tarrant County, Texas. Second, I advance a conceptual framework that conceptualizes the properties and mechanisms through which socioeconomic factors influence immigrant health. This is carried out through an in-depth literature review on the immigrant paradox and a qualitative research study of key informants in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Third, I explore measures of social capital and other determinants of health to explore variation in the health of immigrant subgroups. This is carried out through the development, implementation, and analysis of a pilot survey. Finally, I highlight opportunities for interdisciplinary research through the application of political and economic theories to explain the immigrant paradox. I conclude with a call to action for greater integration of political economists within health equity research.



Emigration and immigration, Public policy (Law), Quality of life, Economics