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True State Dependence In Monthly Welfare Participation:A Nonexperimental Analysis

  • Hilary W. Hoynes
  • Kenneth Y. Chay
  • Dean Hyslop

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

This paper provides an empirical evaluation of true state dependence in welfare participation using unique administrative data from California that is measured at the monthly frequency, which coincides with the welfare eligibility period and so is free of time aggregation bias. The analysis uses first- and second-order dynamic conditional logit models that non-parametrically control for permanent unobserved heterogeneity to test for state dependence in welfare behavior. The second-order model also absorbs individual-specific first-order Markov chains, and provides a more robust test for state dependence in high frequency data. The results using the first-order model show substantial first-order state dependence in monthly welfare participation. Absorbing heterogeneous first-order effects, the hypothesis of no second-order state dependence is also easily rejected. This suggests that past welfare participation predicts future participation, given unrestricted effects of both the present state and unobserved heterogeneity, and provides substantive evidence of duration dependence at the individual level.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 533.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:05-33
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  1. Heckman, James J, 1991. "Identifying the Hand of the Past: Distinguishing State Dependence from Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 75-79, May.
  2. Joel L. Horowitz, 1999. "Semiparametric Estimation of a Proportional Hazard Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1001-1028, September.
  3. Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 1997. "Welfare Benefits, Minimum Wage Rate and the Duration of Welfare Spells: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-25, CIRANO.
  4. Honore, Bo E, 1990. "Simple Estimation of a Duration Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 453-73, March.
  5. G. Sandefur & S. Cook, . "Duration of Public Assistance Receipt: Is Welfare a Trap?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1129-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  6. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain, 1993. "Simulation-based inference : A survey with special reference to panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 5-33, September.
  7. Bo E. Honoré & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2000. "Panel Data Discrete Choice Models with Lagged Dependent Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 839-874, July.
  8. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  9. Elbers, Chris & Ridder, Geert, 1982. "True and Spurious Duration Dependence: The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 403-09, July.
  10. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  11. Plant, Mark W, 1984. "An Empirical Analysis of Welfare Dependence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 673-84, September.
  12. Honore, Bo E, 1993. "Identification Results for Duration Models with Multiple Spells," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 241-46, January.
  13. Gottschalk, Peter & Moffitt, Robert A, 1994. "Welfare Dependence: Concepts, Measures, and Trends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 38-42, May.
  14. Heckman, J & Singer, B, 1984. "The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 231-41, April.
  15. Hoynes, Hilary & MaCurdy, Thomas, 1994. "Has the Decline in Benefits Shortened Welfare Spells?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 43-48, May.
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