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The dynamics of immigrant welfare and labor market behavior

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  • Jorgen Hansen
  • Magnus Lofstrom

Abstract

This paper analyzes transitions into and out of 3 different labor market states, social assistance, unemployment and employment. We estimate a dynamic multinomial logit model, controlling for endogenous initial condition and unobserved heterogeneity, using a large representative Swedish panel data set, LINDA, for the years 1990 to 1996. The unadjusted data indicates that immigrants are more likely to receive both social assistance and unemployment compensation than natives. Immigrants are less likely to remain employed in consecutive years than natives and are more likely to stay on welfare and to receive unemployment insurance in a year, given participation in the previous year. The empirical results suggest that refugee immigrants display a greater degree of "structural" state dependence than natives. Further, immigrants from non-refugee countries display a similar degree of "structural" state dependence as natives. The high welfare participation rates among refugee immigrants seem to be due to the existence of a "welfare trap", while participation among natives and non-refugee immigrants is largely due to permanent unobserved characteristics. These results suggest that welfare reforms will have differential effects on refugee immigrants and natives.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jorgen Hansen & Magnus Lofstrom, 2009. "The dynamics of immigrant welfare and labor market behavior," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 941-970, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:22:y:2009:i:4:p:941-970
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-008-0195-6
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor market transitions; Welfare; Immigration; State dependence; I30; J15; J61;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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