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Title:Labor Market Conditions and Post-Reform Declines in Welfare Receipt Among Immigrants PDF Logo
Authors:Lofstrom, Magnus
Bean, Frank D.
Issue Date:2001
Series/Report no.:IZA Discussion paper series 347
Abstract:Considerable research attention has been devoted to the question of whether and to what extent changes in welfare policy legislated in the 1990s might have deterred immigrant participation in welfare programs, although only post-1996 immigrants were explicitly targeted by most of the changes. Some analysts have argued that such so-called chilling effects have lowered immigrant participation, and others have argued that this is true only in California. This paper analyzes the role of local labor market conditions in explaining declines in the welfare participation trends of immigrants and reductions in the nativity participation gap for the period 1994 to 1999. The data, extracted from the March Current Population Survey, indicate that immigrants? participation in welfare declined more rapidly than natives? during the latter half of the decade. Our results show that variation in the unemployment and employment rates across MSAs and states explain the observed relative post-welfare reform decrease among immigrants, with immigrant welfare utilization being sensitive to changes in both employment and unemployment rates. The inclusion of state fixed effects in probability models suggests that the relative decline among immigrants is not due to unobservable heterogeneity across states, but rather to differences in local labor market conditions. The policy implications of the findings are discussed.
Subjects:Immigrant welfare
welfare reform
labor market conditions
JEL:I30
J15
J61
I38
H53
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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