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Welfare reform and immigrant fertility

Author

Listed:
  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

    () (San Diego State University and IZA)

  • Susan L. Averett

    () (Lafayette College and IZA)

  • Cynthia A. Bansak

    () (St. Lawrence University and IZA)

Abstract

Immigration policy is at the forefront of US policy discussions, and the use of welfare benefits by immigrants has been hotly debated. In 1996, Congress enacted welfare reform legislation, which imposed strict restrictions on welfare eligibility for noncitizens. However, a number of states restored access to welfare benefits to immigrants that had been cut out in the federal welfare reform law. Using data from the Current Population Survey, we examine whether immigrant women adjusted their childbearing in response to changes in the generosity of welfare benefits at the state-level. We find that noncitizen women reduced their fertility in response to cutbacks imposed by the legislation. Our findings, which prove robust to a number of identification and robustness checks, underscore how immigrants respond to state-level policies and provide insight into the potential impacts of comprehensive immigration reform, particularly the components related to the path to citizenship and access to public benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:29:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-016-0584-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-016-0584-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroy, Esther, 2017. "Immigrant Fertility in the Midst of Intensified Enforcement," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare reform; Immigrants; Fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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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