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An Empirical Analysis of the Welfare Magnet Debate Using the NLSY

  • Phillip B. Levine
  • David J. Zimmerman

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5264.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5264.

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Date of creation: Sep 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 12, no. 3 (1999): 391-409.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5264
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Case, A.C. & Hines, J.R.J. & Rosen, H.S., 1989. "Copycatting: Fiscal Policies Of States And Their Neighbors," Papers 37, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  3. Gruber, J. & Currie, J., 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," Working papers 94-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Robert Moffitt, 1988. "Has State Redistribution Policy Grown More Conservative?," NBER Working Papers 2516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
  6. J. R. Walker, . "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.
  7. R. L. Hanson & J. T. Hartman, . "Do welfare magnets attract?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1028-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  8. 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.
  9. P. B. Levine & D. J. Zimmerman, . "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.
  10. repec:fth:harver:1437 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  12. 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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