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Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation

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  • Tara Watson

Abstract

"Chilling effects" are a popular explanation for low program take-up rates among immigrants, but the effects of an icy policy climate are inherently hard to measure. This paper finds robust evidence that heightened federal immigration enforcement reduces Medicaid participation among children of noncitizens, even when children are themselves citizens. The decline in immigrant Medicaid participation around the time of welfare reform is largely explained by a contemporaneous spike in 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tara Watson, 2014. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-338, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:3:p:313-38
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.3.313
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    9. 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.
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    15. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Marton & Angela Snyder & Mei Zhou, 2016. "Enhanced Citizenship Verification And Children'S Medicaid Coverage," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1670-1683, July.
    2. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0627-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tara Watson, 2014. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-338, August.
    4. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Antman, Francisca, 2016. "Can authorization reduce poverty among undocumented immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 1-4.
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0617-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dylan Conger & Lesley J. Turner, 2015. "The Impact of Tuition Increases on Undocumented College Students' Attainment," NBER Working Papers 21135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:eee:labeco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:202-226 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan L. Averett & Cynthia A. Bansak, 2016. "Welfare reform and immigrant fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 757-779, July.
    9. Bronchetti, Erin Todd, 2014. "Public insurance expansions and the health of immigrant and native children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 205-219.
    10. Mahmud, Mir, 2016. "Immigrant Children’s Access to Public Health Insurance after CHIPRA-2009," MPRA Paper 80602, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:eee:jhouse:v:40:y:2018:i:c:p:41-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroy, Esther, 2017. "Immigrant Fertility in the Midst of Intensified Enforcement," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    13. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:63-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:socmed:v:199:y:2018:i:c:p:19-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Conger, Dylan & Turner, Lesley J., 2017. "The effect of price shocks on undocumented students' college attainment and completion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 92-114.
    16. Pia Orrenius, 2013. "How Do Tougher Immigration Measures Affect Unauthorized Immigrants?: Comment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1101-1103, June.
    17. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroyo, Esther, 2017. "Immigration Enforcement and Foster Care Placements," IZA Discussion Papers 10850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Watson, Tara, 2013. "Enforcement and immigrant location choice," Working Papers 13-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    19. Thomas Buchmueller & John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2015. "The Medicaid Program," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, Volume 1, pages 21-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Vargas, Edward D., 2015. "Immigration enforcement and mixed-status families: The effects of risk of deportation on Medicaid use," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 83-89.
    21. Julia Shu-Huah Wang & Neeraj Kaushal, 2018. "Health and Mental Health Effects of Local Immigration Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 24487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. repec:eee:socmed:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:19-29 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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