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Use of Means-Tested Transfer Programs by Immigrants, Their Children, and Their Children's Children

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  • Luojia Hu

Abstract

Public concern over immigrants' use of welfare culminated in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform Act (WRA)). Welfare reform radically changed the welfare system in the United States. Its impact on low-skilled U.S. citizens is the subject of intense debate and study. While the changes brought by this law affect all welfare recipients, noncitizens were expressly singled out. The welfare reform act affects the panoply of government sponsored support more profoundly for noncitizens than for any other group. We first present a brief summary of the changes in the welfare system affecting noncitizens, using data from the 1994-1996 Current Populations Surveys to analyze these changes. In addition to providing information on changes in welfare rules pertaining to immigrants, the contribution of this research to the literature on immigrants and welfare is threefold: first, we use the most recent data available before the large overhaul in the welfare rules and those data have rich information on a wide range of transfer programs. Therefore this work should help paint a clear picture of immigrants' reliance on welfare prior to the welfare reform. Secondly, the data allow us to examine several groups of interest, in particular, immigrants, the second generation and the third (and higher) generation. Lastly, combining the CPS data with 1970 Census data allows us to calculate intergenerational correlation in welfare use between immigrants and their children. So this paper should shed some light on the possible effects, both short term and long term, of welfare reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 71.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:71

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  1. Francine D. Blau, 1984. "The use of transfer payments by immigrants," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(2), pages 222-239, January.
  2. Antel, John J, 1992. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Welfare Dependency: Some Statistical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 467-73, August.
  3. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 2000. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 51-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  5. Janet Currie, 1995. "Do Children of Immigrants Make Differential Use of Public Health Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
  7. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," JCPR Working Papers 63, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  9. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Cross-city evidence on the relationship between immigration and crime," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 457-493.
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Cited by:
  1. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2007. "Why are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates so Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation," NBER Working Papers 13229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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