IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

SSI, Labor Supply, and Migration

  • Neumark, David


    (University of California, Irvine)

  • Powers, Elizabeth T.


    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in the United States creates incentives for potential aged recipients to reduce labor supply prior to becoming eligible, and our past research finds that older men likely to be eligible for SSI at age 65 reduce their labor supply in the years immediately before the age of eligibility. However, given the dramatic supplementation of SSI benefits in some states, a migration response to these benefits cannot be dismissed, and migration that is associated with SSI benefits can lead to bias in estimates of the effects of SSI benefits on labor supply; depending on retirement and migration behavior, the disincentive effects can be overstated or understated. Migration responses to SSI benefits are also important in their own right, as another instance of the potential problem of "welfare magnets." We fail to find any statistically significant evidence that older individuals likely to be eligible for SSI in the near future, or already eligible for SSI, are more likely to move from low benefit to high benefit states. These findings are robust to the use of a number of different comparison groups to try to capture the state-to-state migration patterns that exist independently of a response to SSI. The evidence indicates that labor supply disincentive effects of SSI do not stem from migration behavior that could, in principle, spuriously generate these findings.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1820.

in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2006, 19 (3), 447-479
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1820
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

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. Powers, Elizabeth T. & Neumark, David, 2005. "The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Claim Social Security Retirement Early," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(1), pages 5-26, March.
  2. Figlio, David N. & Kolpin, Van W. & Reid, William E., 1999. "Do States Play Welfare Games?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 437-454, November.
  3. Enchautegui, Maria E, 1997. "Welfare Payments and Other Economic Determinants of Female Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 529-54, July.
  4. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, 1997. "The Effect of Means-Tested Income Support for the Elderly on Pre-Retirement Saving: Evidence from the SSI Program in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 6303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, 1998. "Welfare for the Elderly: The Effects of SSI on Pre-Retirement Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 6805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 391-409.
  7. David Neumark & Elizabeth T. Powers, 2003. "The Effects of Changes in State SSI Supplements on Pre-Retirement Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  9. Blank, Rebecca M., 1988. "The effect of welfare and wage levels on the location decisions of female-headed households," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 186-211, September.
  10. Jan K. Brueckner, 1999. "Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 505-525, January.
  11. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  13. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2004. "Migration, the Life Cycle, and State Benefits: How Low Is the Bottom?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1091-1130, October.
  14. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
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:iza:izadps:dp1820. 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: (Mark Fallak)

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.