Bias in cohort-based comparisons of immigrants’ health outcomes between countries: a simulation study

Cohort-type data are increasingly used to compare health outcomes of immigrants between countries, e.g. to assess the effects of different national integration policies. In such international comparisons, small differences in cardiovascular diseases risk or mortality rates have been interpreted as showing effects of different policies. We conjecture that cohort-type data sets available for such comparisons might not provide unbiased relative risk estimates between countries because of differentials in migration patterns occurring before the cohorts are being observed.