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An Empirical Analysis of the Welfare Magnet Debate Using the NLSY

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  • Phillip B. Levine
  • David J. Zimmerman

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which differences in welfare generosity across states leads to interstate migration. Using microdata from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) between 1979 and 1992, we employ a quasi-experimental design that utilizes the categorical eligibility of the welfare system. The pattern of cross-state moves among poor single women with children who are likely to be eligible for benefits is compared to the pattern among other poor households. We find little evidence indicating that welfare-induced migration is a widespread phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1995. "An Empirical Analysis of the Welfare Magnet Debate Using the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 5264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5264
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. Anne C. Case & James R. Hines, Jr. & Harvey S. Rosen, 1989. "Copycatting: Fiscal Policies of States and Their Neighbors," NBER Working Papers 3032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    4. R. L. Hanson & J. T. Hartman, "undated". "Do welfare magnets attract?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1028-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:03:p:711-728_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Cebula, Richard J, 1979. "A Survey of the Literature on the Migration-Impact of State and Local Government Policies," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 34(1), pages 69-84.
    8. P. B. Levine & D. J. Zimmerman, "undated". "The intergenerational correlation in AFDC participation: Welfare trap or poverty trap?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1100-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    9. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Edward M. Gramlich & Deborah S. Laren, 1984. "Migration and Income Redistribution Responsibilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 489-511.
    11. repec:fth:harver:1437 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "Has State Redistribution Policy Grown More Conservative?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 43(2), pages 123-142, June.
    13. J. R. Walker, "undated". "Migration amoung low-income households: Helping the witch doctors reach consensus," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1031-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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