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Title:The Immigrant Welfare Effect: Take-Up or Eligibility? PDF Logo
Authors:Bird, Edward J.
Kayser, Hilke
Frick, Joachim R.
Wagner, Gert G.
Issue Date:1999
Series/Report no.:IZA Discussion paper series 66
Abstract:Are immigrants on welfare because they are more likely to be eligible or because they are more likely to claim benefits for which they are eligible? The answer is politically important, but because most current research on immigration and welfare is based on data from the U.S., the answer is difficult due to the complexities of the transfer system which make eligibility determinations difficult. In Germany, by contrast, eligibility for the main cash transfer program, Sozialhilfe (Social Assistance), is determined by a comparatively simple nation-wide formula. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to test whether immigrants to Germany are more likely than natives to claim welfare benefits for which they are eligible. We find that immigrants are more likely than native Germans to receive welfare, both because immigrants are more likely to be eligible, and because they are more likely, when eligible, to claim their benefits. However, we also find that this greater propensity to take-up benefits is not related to immigrant status per se: when other socio-demographic factors are accounted for in an appropriate manner, immigrant households are no more likely to take up benefits than native households.
Subjects:Immigration
social assistance
eligibility
take-up
JEL:J61
H53
I38
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Publikationen von Forscherinnen und Forschern des DIW
IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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