IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Network Effects and Welfare Cultures

  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Erzo F. P. Luttmer
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

This paper empirically examines the role of social networks in welfare participation. Social theorists from across the political spectrum have argued that network effects have given rise to a culture of poverty. Empirical work, however, has found it difficult to distinguish the effect of networks from unobservable characteristics of individuals and areas. We use data on language spoken to better infer an individual's network within an area. Individuals who are surrounded by others speaking their language have a larger pool of available contacts. Moreover, the network influence of this pool will depend on their welfare knowledge. We, therefore, focus on the differential effect of increased contact availability: does being surrounded by others who speak the same language increase welfare use more for individuals from high welfare using language groups? The results strongly confirm the importance of networks in welfare participation. We deal with omitted variable bias in several ways. First, our methodology allows us to include local area and language group fixed effects and to control for the direct effect of contact availability; these controls eliminate many of the problems in previous studies. Second, we instrument for contact availability in the neighborhood with the number of one's language group in the entire metropolitan area. Finally, we investigate the effect of removing education controls. Both instrumentation and removal of education controls have little impact on the estimates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/about/publications/working-papers/pdf/wp_99_03.pdf
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found (http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/about/publications/working-papers/pdf/wp_99_03.pdf [301 Moved Permanently]--> http://harris.uchicago.edu/index.php?q=about/publications/working-papers/pdf/wp_99_03.pdf [301 Moved Permanently]--> http://harris.uchicago.edu/about/publications/working-papers/pdf/wp_99_03.pdf). If this is indeed the case, please notify (Eleanor Cartelli)


Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 9903.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jan 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:9903
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773-702-8400
Web page: http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Borjas, George J & Hilton, Lynette, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604, May.
  2. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  3. Jeremy Bulow & Paul Klemperer, 1991. "Rational Frenzies and Crashes," NBER Technical Working Papers 0112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-run convergence of ethnic skill differentials: The children and grandchildren of the Great Migration," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
  5. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1990. "Understanding Welfare Stigma: Taxpayer Resentment And Statistical Discrimination," Papers 42, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  6. A. Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 425, David K. Levine.
  7. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
  8. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  9. G. Ellison & D. Fudenberg, 2010. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 435, David K. Levine.
  10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials: The Children and Grandchildren of the Great Migration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
  12. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  13. Thomas J. Nechyba, 1999. "Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Re-Examination of the Illegitimacy Debate," NBER Working Papers 7240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  15. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  20. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:9903. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eleanor Cartelli)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Eleanor Cartelli to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.