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Elderly immigrants' labor supply response to supplemental security income

  • Neeraj Kaushal

    (Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Columbia University and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economics Research)

This paper examined how the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which banned Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the majority of elderly immigrants, affected their employment, retirement, and family incomes. The policy was found to be associated with a 3.5 percentage point (9.5 percent) increase in the employment and a 3.8 percentage point (7 percent) decrease in the retirement of foreign-born elderly men. Partly as a result of their employment response, SSI ineligibility and the consequent decline in SSI receipt did not have any statistically significant effects on the family incomes of elderly foreign-born men. Noncitizen elderly women, on the other hand, did not experience any increase in employment, and those without family support suffered a 10 to 17 percent decline in income. These findings suggest that access to SSI did not create work disincentives for noncitizen elderly women and that SSI restrictions have imposed financial hardship on those without any family support, many of whom perhaps cannot effectively increase their employment. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20482
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 137-162

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:1:p:137-162
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Steven J. Haider & Robert F. Schoeni & Yuhua Bao & Caroline Danielson, 2004. "Immigrants, welfare reform, and the economy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 745-764.
  2. Wei-Yin Hu, 1998. "Elderly Immigrants on Welfare," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 711-741.
  3. Jennifer Van Hook, 2003. "Welfare Reform's Chilling Effects on Noncitizens: Changes in Noncitizen Welfare Recipiency or Shifts in Citizenship Status?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(3), pages 613-631.
  4. Paul S. Davies & Michael J. Greenwood, 2004. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in the Supplemental Security Income Program," Working Papers wp087, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  5. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1995. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means- Tested Entitlement Programs," NBER Working Papers 5372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Neeraj Kaushal, 2005. "New Immigrants' Location Choices: Magnets without Welfare," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 59-80, January.
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