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Unintended Migration Consequences of US Welfare Reform

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Author Info

  • Hal W. Snarr

    ()
    (Department of Economics & Finance, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, U.S.A.)

  • Daniel Friesner

    ()
    (College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences, North Dakota State University, Dept. 2650, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, U.S.A.)

  • Mark L. Burkey

    ()
    (Department of Economics & Finance, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, U.S.A.)

Abstract

Researchers have analyzed whether US welfare reform has induced interstate migration. Empirical results are inconclusive because methodologies are based on pre-reform thinking. This paper presents a post-reform migration model. We find that recipients move to avoid harsh sanction policies, seek lenient work requirements, and extend time limits. Unlike the first two behavioral responses, the latter is controversial. Critics will argue that such moves are illegal, and violators can be prosecuted because states share data. However, only active cases are being shared, meaning violators cannot be caught. Our model produces testable hypotheses which are consistent with (and reconcile) previous empirical results.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance in its journal Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP).

Volume (Year): 41 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 233-252

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Handle: RePEc:eap:articl:v:41:y:2011:i:3:p:233-252

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Keywords: Migration; Welfare reform;

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  1. P. B. Levine & D. J. Zimmerman, . "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1098-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. Snarr, Hal W. & Burkey, Mark L., 2006. "A preliminary investigation of welfare migration induced by time limits," MPRA Paper 36228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Axelsen, Dan & Underwood, Daniel A. & Friesner, Dan, 2009. "Cultural filtering in the hiring process and its relationship to welfare reform," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 495-508, June.
  4. McKinnish, Terra, 2007. "Welfare-induced migration at state borders: New evidence from micro-data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 437-450, April.
  5. Daniel A. Underwood & Dan Axelsen & Dan Friesner, 2010. "Cultural Filtering, Employment and Wages under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)," Journal of Economic Issues, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 44(1), pages 225-242, March.
  6. Edward M. Gramlich & Deborah S. Laren, 1984. "Migration and Income Redistribution Responsibilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 489-511.
  7. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2008:i:8:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Terra McKinnish, 2005. "Importing the Poor: Welfare Magnetism and Cross-Border Welfare Migration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
  9. Jan K. Brueckner, 1999. "Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 505-525, January.
  10. Kaestner, Robert & Kaushal, Neeraj & Van Ryzin, Gregg, 2003. "Migration consequences of welfare reform," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 357-376, May.
  11. Enchautegui, Maria E, 1997. "Welfare Payments and Other Economic Determinants of Female Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 529-54, July.
  12. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  13. Kennan, John & Walker, James R., 2010. "Wages, welfare benefits and migration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 229-238, May.
  14. Hal Snarr & Dan Axelsen, 2008. "Are Welfare Eligible Households Forward Looking?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(8), pages 1-9.
  15. Blank, Rebecca M., 1988. "The effect of welfare and wage levels on the location decisions of female-headed households," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 186-211, September.
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