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Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means- Tested Entitlement Programs


  • George J. Borjas
  • Lynette Hilton


This paper documents the extent to which immigrants participate in the many programs that make up the welfare state. The immigrant- native difference in the probability of receiving cash benefits is small, but the gap widens once other programs are included in the analysis: 21 percent of immigrant households receive some type of assistance, as compared to only 14 percent of native households. The types of benefits received by earlier immigrants influence the types of benefits received by newly arrived immigrants. Hence there might be ethnic networks which transmit information about the availability of particular benefits to new immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1995. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means- Tested Entitlement Programs," NBER Working Papers 5372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5372
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    3. Francine D. Blau, 1984. "The Use of Transfer Payments by Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(2), pages 222-239, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbieri, Paolo Nicola, 2016. "The heterogeneity in immigrants unhealthy assimilation," MPRA Paper 71560, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Frederiksen, Anders & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2016. "Consumption Network Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 9983, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Hansen, Jorgen Drud, 2003. "Immigration and income redistribution in welfare states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 735-746, November.
    4. David Card, 2007. "How Immigration Affects U.S. Cities," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0711, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Guy Lacroix & Gino Santarossa & Pierre Gagné, 2003. "Une analyse de la dynamique de la dépendance à l'assistance-emploi des populations natives et immigrantes québécoises," CIRANO Project Reports 2003rp-14, CIRANO.

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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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