Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation
AbstractEconomists have puzzled over why eligible individuals fail to enroll in social safety net programs. “Chilling effects” arising from an icy policy climate are a popular explanation for low program take-up rates among immigrants, but such effects are inherently hard to measure. This paper investigates a concrete determinant of chilling, Federal immigration enforcement, and finds robust evidence that heightened enforcement reduces Medicaid participation among children of non-citizens. This is the case even when children are themselves citizens and face no eligibility barriers to Medicaid enrollment. Immigrants from countries with more undocumented U.S. residents, those living in cities with a high fraction of other immigrants, and those with healthy children are most sensitive to enforcement efforts. Up to seventy-five percent of the relative decline in non-citizen Medicaid participation around the time of welfare reform, which has been attributed to the chilling effects of the reform itself, is explained by a contemporaneous spike in immigration enforcement activity. The results imply that safety net participation is influenced not only by program design, but also by a broader set of seemingly unrelated policy choices.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16278.
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Watson, Tara, Forthcoming. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling in Immigrant Medicaid Participation.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. (Earlier draft: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 16278.)
Note: CH HE LS
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Buchmueller Thomas C & Lo Sasso Anthony T & Wong Kathleen N, 2008.
"How Did SCHIP Affect the Insurance Coverage of Immigrant Children?,"
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-25, January.
- Thomas Buchmueller & Anthony Lo Sasso & Kathleen Wong, 2007. "How Did SCHIP Affect the Insurance Coverage of Immigrant Children?," NBER Working Papers 13261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- George J. Borjas, 2003.
"Welfare Reform, Labor Supply, and Health Insurance in the Immigrant Population,"
NBER Working Papers
9781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Borjas, George J., 2003. "Welfare reform, labor supply, and health insurance in the immigrant population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 933-958, November.
- Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004.
"Welfare Reform and Health,"
102-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A & Grau, Montserrat Viladrich, 1999. " Immigration Reform, the INS, and the Distribution of Interior and Border Enforcement Resources," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 327-45, June.
- Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal, 2001.
"Immigrant and Native Responses to Welfare Reform,"
NBER Working Papers
8541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas DeLeire & Judith A. Levine & Helen Levy, 2006. "Is Welfare Reform Responsible for Low-Skilled Women’s Declining Health Insurance Coverage in the 1990s?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
- Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, 2002.
"Networks or Neighborhoods? Correlations in the Use of Publicly-Funded Maternity Care in California,"
NBER Working Papers
9209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Aizer, Anna & Currie, Janet, 2004. "Networks or neighborhoods? Correlations in the use of publicly-funded maternity care in California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2573-2585, December.
- Hungerman, Daniel M., 2005. "Are church and state substitutes? Evidence from the 1996 welfare reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2245-2267, December.
- Anna Aizer, 2003. "Low Take-Up in Medicaid: Does Outreach Matter and for Whom?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 238-241, May.
- Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2009. "The effects of tougher enforcement on the job prospects of recent Latin American immigrants," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 239-257.
- Pia Orrenius, 2013. "How Do Tougher Immigration Measures Affect Unauthorized Immigrants?: Comment," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1101-1103, June.
- Watson, Tara, 2013. "Enforcement and immigrant location choice," Working Papers 13-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Tara Watson, 2013. "Enforcement and Immigrant Location Choice," NBER Working Papers 19626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Averett, Susan L. & Bansak, Cynthia, 2014. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 8153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.