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Migration Consequences of Welfare Reform

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Neeraj Kaushal
  • Gregg Van Ryzin

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether or not recent state and federal changes in welfare policy -- the imposition of time-limited benefits, the use of financial sanctions for non-compliance, and the setting of strict work eligibility rules -- affect the migration of low-educated unmarried women. Estimates of welfare's effect on migration reveal that welfare policy does indeed affect migration. Recent changes in policy that have made public assistance a less attractive alternative are associated with greater migration among low-educated unmarried women. Welfare reform has motivated low-educated women to move greater distances more frequently, and to combine such moves with employment. Estimates also indicate that welfare reform is associated with more local (i.e., within county) changes in residential location that are associated with employment, although estimates of this effect were not robust to estimation method. The close link between residential moves and employment in the post-reform period is consistent with the idea that welfare reform has motivated people to move for economic reasons such as better employment opportunities. This evidence suggests that the traditional way of thinking about the effect of welfare on migration -- as a strategic move to obtain higher benefits -- is inadequate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8560.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8560

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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. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," NBER Working Papers 7627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. J. R. Walker, . "Migration amoung low-income households: Helping the witch doctors reach consensus," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1031-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Hal W. Snarr & Daniel Friesner & Mark L. Burkey, 2011. "Unintended Migration Consequences of US Welfare Reform," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 41(3), pages 233-252, December.
  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. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2003. "Die Sozialhilfe zwischen Effizienz und Gerechtigkeit: wie kann der Spagat gelingen?," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 62, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  4. Jon Bakija & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Do the Rich Flee from High State Taxes? Evidence from Federal Estate Tax Returns," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. Edmark, Karin, 2007. "Effects of work requirements on welfare migration," Working Paper Series 2007:29, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Berthold, Norbert & Fricke, Holger & Kullas, Matthias, 2005. "Standortwettbewerb der Bundesländer," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 80, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  7. Sanders Korenman & Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Jennifer Walper, 2004. "What Did the "Illegitimacy Bonus" Reward?," NBER Working Papers 10699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2005. "Hartz IV: eine vertane Chance nutzen," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 79, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  9. Kennan, John & Walker, James R., 2010. "Wages, welfare benefits and migration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 229-238, May.
  10. Gordon Jong & Deborah Graefe & Tanja St. Pierre, 2005. "Welfare reform and interstate migration of poor families," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 469-496, August.
  11. Berthold, Norbert & Fricke, Holger, 2009. "Die Bundesländer im Standortwettbewerb," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 106, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  12. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2002. "Sozialhilfe im wettbewerblichen Föderalismus: Erfahrungen der USA, Lehren für Deutschland," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 58, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  13. 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.
  14. Norbert Berthold, 2005. "Mehr Effizienz und Gerechtigkeit: Wege zur Entflechtung des Sozialstaates," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(2), pages 233-254, 05.
  15. Sasser, Alicia C., 2010. "Voting with their feet: Relative economic conditions and state migration patterns," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2-3), pages 122-135, May.
  16. Berthold, Norbert & Fricke, Holger, 2003. "Deutschland im Herbst 2003 - blockierter Standortwettbewerb der Bundesländer," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 69, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  17. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2005. "Lokale Solidarität: die Zukunft der Sozialhilfe?," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Beiträge 76, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbes. Wirtschaftsordnung und Sozialpolitik.
  18. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2004. "Selection or Network Effects? Migration Flows into 27 OECD Countries, 1990-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 1104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Nathan Berg & Todd Gabel, 2013. "Effects of New Welfare Reform Strategies on Welfare Participation: Microdata Estimates from Canada," Working Papers 1304, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.

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