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Immigrants on Welfare: Assimilation and Benefit Substitution


  • Ekhaugen, Tyra

    () (The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)


Non-western immigrants in Norway are shown to rely heavily on welfare transfers for several years after immigration. While refugee immigrants assimilate slightly out of welfare, other non-western immigrants assimilate rapidly into welfare. Re-migration is selective for both non-western and western immigrants, insofar as the probability of re-migration correlates negatively with the probability of receiving welfare. We argue that previous studies may have reached biased estimates of welfare assimilation, both because they have disregarded the possibility of selective re-migration, and because they have focused only on social assistance, not taking into account the possibility of benefit substitution.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekhaugen, Tyra, 2005. "Immigrants on Welfare: Assimilation and Benefit Substitution," Memorandum 18/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2005_018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    2. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    3. Michael Baker & Dwayne Benjamin, 1995. "The Receipt of Transfer Payments by Immigrants to Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 650-676.
    4. Baker, Michael & Melino, Angelo, 2000. "Duration dependence and nonparametric heterogeneity: A Monte Carlo study," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 357-393, June.
    5. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604.
    6. George J. Borjas & Stephen J. Trejo, 1991. "Immigrant Participation in the Welfare System," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(2), pages 195-211, January.
    7. 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).
    8. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Oddbj¯rn Raaum, 2004. "Identifying Earnings Assimilation of Immigrants under Changing Macroeconomic Conditions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(1), pages 1-22, March.
    9. Riphahn, Regina, 1999. "Immigrant Participation in Social Assistance Programs: Evidence from German Guestworkers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2318, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item


    immigrants; immigration; re-migration;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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