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The Decline in Welfare Receipt in New York City: Push vs. Pull

Listed author(s):
  • Howard Chernick


    (Department of Economics, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

  • Cordelia Reimers


    (Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

To evaluate the initial effects of welfare reform in New York City, we use the Current Population Survey to compare benefit receipt, earnings, and income among vulnerable households in 1994-95 and 1997-99. Overall, there were drops in public assistance and Food Stamps receipt, but the proportion getting Medicaid remained stable. Citizens and noncitizens lost welfare at similar rates, but the decline was significantly greater for Hispanic households than blacks, and was greatest among Puerto Ricans. Both the proportion with earnings and average earnings rose for Hispanics, but earnings did not increase for vulnerable blacks and whites. The sharp difference between Hispanics and blacks resulted in the convergence of Hispanics' higher welfare rates and lower incomes toward those of blacks. This convergence represents both the "pull" of a tighter labor market, together with improvements in Hispanics' education levels and shifts in family structure, and "push" of tighter administrative procedures.

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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 30 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 3-29

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:30:y:2004:i:1:p:3-29
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