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Elderly Immigrants on Welfare

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  • Wei-Yin Hu

Abstract

The difference between immigrants' and natives' use of welfare programs is concentrated among the elderly. This paper examines the determinants of immigrants' welfare participation decisions to evaluate the consequences of changes in immigration and welfare policy. An important finding for immigration policy is that immigrants who arrive after age 55 are significantly more likely to use welfare than the typical immigrant who arrives during prime working years. Surprisingly, this age-at-arrival effect is not explained by differences in Social Security benefits between young-arrivers and old-arrivers. The problem of immigrant welfare use is not simply low incomes or poor labor market performance: decisions regarding takeup of benefits are an important explanation for the effect of age at arrival. Finally, the sharp rise in immigrants' use of welfare during the 1980s was due mostly to higher welfare participation rates of new immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei-Yin Hu, 1998. "Elderly Immigrants on Welfare," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 711-741.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:33:y:1998:i:3:p:711-741
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kerstin Gerst & Jeffrey Burr, 2011. "Welfare Use Among Older Hispanic Immigrants: The Effect of State and Federal Policy," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(1), pages 129-150, February.
    2. Erik D. Craft, 2002. "The Demand For Vanity (Plates): Elasticities, Net Revenue Maximization, And Deadweight Loss," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(2), pages 133-144, April.
    3. Jorgen Hansen & Magnus Lofstrom, 2003. "Immigrant Assimilation and Welfare Participation Do Immigrants Assimilate Into or Out of Welfare?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    4. Bird, Edward J. & Kayser, Hilke & Frick, Joachim R. & Wagner, Gert G., 1999. "The Immigrant Welfare Effect: Take-Up or Eligibility?," IZA Discussion Papers 66, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Lingxin Hao & Yukio Kawano, 2001. "Immigrants’ welfare use and opportunity for contact with co-ethnics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 375-389, August.
    6. Riphahn, Regina, 1999. "Immigrant Participation in Social Assistance Programs: Evidence from German Guestworkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2318, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Una Okonkwo Osili & Jia Xie, 2009. "Do Immigrants and Their Children Free Ride More Than Natives?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 28-34, May.
    8. Neeraj Kaushal, 2010. "Elderly immigrants' labor supply response to supplemental security income," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 137-162.
    9. Greenwood, Michael J. & McDowell, John M. & Wierman, Matt, 2003. "Source-country social programs and the age composition of legal US immigrants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 739-771, March.
    10. Dodson, Marvin E., 2001. "Welfare generosity and location choices among new United States immigrants," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 47-67, March.
    11. Kathleen Mcgarry & Robert Schoeni, 2000. "Social security, economic growth, and the rise in elderly widows’ independence in the twentieth century," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 221-236, May.

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