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Immigrant and Native Responses to Welfare Reform

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Neeraj Kaushal

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effect of federal welfare reform on the employment, hours of work and marriage rates of three groups of low-educated women: foreign-born citizens, foreign-born non-citizens and native-born citizens. Among non-citizens, we investigate whether the behavioral response to welfare reform differed by recency of immigration. Finally, because some states created programs to insure that all legal immigrants remained eligible for benefits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and others did not, we compare the response of foreign-born non-citizens between these states to investigate whether the immigrant provisions of federal welfare reform legislation had a 'chilling' effect. The results suggest that welfare reform induced native-born citizens and foreign- born non-citizens to increase their employment and attachment to the labor market. TANF appears to have had a larger effect on the least educated native-born women and among foreign-born non-citizens, a larger effect on more recent arrivals. The 'chilling' hypothesis that has received so much attention in the popular press is not supported by our results. Finally, our estimates indicate that TANF had no effect on native- and foreign-born citizens' marriage decisions. TANF was associated with a decrease in the marriage rates of foreign-born non-citizens.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8541.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Publication status: published as Kaestner, Robert and Neeraj Kaushal. "Immigrant And Native Responses To Welfare Reform," Journal of Population Economics, 2005, v18(1,Mar), 69-92.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8541

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  1. David N. Figlio & James P. Ziliak, 1999. "Welfare Reform, the Business Cycle, and the Decline in AFDC Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 77, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  2. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-37, October.
  3. Borjas, George J & Hilton, Lynette, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604, May.
  4. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, . "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or Economic Growth?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1151-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  5. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Working Papers 00-02, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. James P. Ziliak & David N. Figlio & Elizabeth E. Davis & Laura S. Connolly, 2000. "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or the Economy?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 570-586.
  7. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
  9. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Kahanec, Martin & Giulietti, Corrado & Guzi, Martin & Barrett, Alan & Maitre, Bertrand, 2012. "Report No. 43: Study on Active Inclusion of Migrants," IZA Research Reports 43, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2003. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Working Papers 111, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  4. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Family Formation," Working Papers 09-08, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2002. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Working Paper 2002-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Chris Herbst, 2013. "Welfare reform and the subjective well-being of single mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 203-238, January.
  7. Waldfogel, Jane, 2004. "Welfare reform and the child welfare system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(10), pages 919-939, October.
  8. Alan Barrett & Martin Kahanec & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2013. "Pitfalls of immigrant inclusion into the European welfare state," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 97-98, January.
  9. Jeffrey T. Lewis, 2007. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Employment and Labor Supply of Female High School Dropouts," New York Economic Review, New York State Economics Association (NYSEA), vol. 38(1), pages 37-60.
  10. Robert Kaestner & June O'Neill, 2002. "Has Welfare Reform Changed Teenage Behaviors?," NBER Working Papers 8932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Tara Watson, 2010. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," NBER Working Papers 16278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2003. "What if welfare had no work requirements? the age of youngest child exemption and the rise in employment of single mothers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Can Long-Term Cohabiting and Marital Unions be Incentivized?," Working Papers 12-01, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.

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