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Elderly Immigrants on Welfare

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  • Wei-Yin Hu
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    Abstract

    The difference between immigrants' and natives' use of welfare programs is concentrated among the elderly. This paper examines the determinants of immigrants' welfare participation decisions to evaluate the consequences of changes in immigration and welfare policy. An important finding for immigration policy is that immigrants who arrive after age 55 are significantly more likely to use welfare than the typical immigrant who arrives during prime working years. Surprisingly, this age-at-arrival effect is not explained by differences in Social Security benefits between young-arrivers and old-arrivers. The problem of immigrant welfare use is not simply low incomes or poor labor market performance: decisions regarding takeup of benefits are an important explanation for the effect of age at arrival. Finally, the sharp rise in immigrants' use of welfare during the 1980s was due mostly to higher welfare participation rates of new immigrants.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 33 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 711-741

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:33:y:1998:i:3:p:711-741

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    Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    Cited by:
    1. Riphahn, Regina, 1999. "Immigrant Participation in Social Assistance Programs: Evidence from German Guestworkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2318, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kerstin Gerst & Jeffrey Burr, 2011. "Welfare Use Among Older Hispanic Immigrants: The Effect of State and Federal Policy," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 129-150, February.
    3. Lingxin Hao & Yukio Kawano, 2001. "Immigrants’ welfare use and opportunity for contact with co-ethnics," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 375-389, August.
    4. Hansen, Jörgen & Löfström, Magnus, 2000. "Immigrant Assimilation And Welfare Participation: Do Immigrants Assimilate Into Or Out Of Welfare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2430, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Kathleen Mcgarry & Robert Schoeni, 2000. "Social security, economic growth, and the rise in elderly widows’ independence in the twentieth century," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 221-236, May.
    6. Una Okonkwo Osili & Jia Xie, 2009. "Do Immigrants and Their Children Free Ride More Than Natives?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 28-34, May.
    7. Bird, Edward J. & Kayser, Hilke & Wagner, Gert G. & Frick, Joachim R., 1999. "The Immigrant Welfare Effect: Take-Up or Eligibility?," IZA Discussion Papers 66, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Neeraj Kaushal, 2008. "Elderly Immigrants' Labor Supply Response to Supplemental Security Income," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-25, Center for Retirement Research.
    9. Dodson, Marvin E., 2001. "Welfare generosity and location choices among new United States immigrants," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 47-67, March.
    10. Greenwood, Michael J. & McDowell, John M. & Wierman, Matt, 2003. "Source-country social programs and the age composition of legal US immigrants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 739-771, March.

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