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Immigrant and Native Responses to Welfare Reform

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Neeraj Kaushal

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effect of federal welfare reform on the employment, hours of work and marriage rates of three groups of low-educated women: foreign-born citizens, foreign-born non-citizens and native-born citizens. Among non-citizens, we investigate whether the behavioral response to welfare reform differed by recency of immigration. Finally, because some states created programs to insure that all legal immigrants remained eligible for benefits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and others did not, we compare the response of foreign-born non-citizens between these states to investigate whether the immigrant provisions of federal welfare reform legislation had a 'chilling' effect. The results suggest that welfare reform induced native-born citizens and foreign- born non-citizens to increase their employment and attachment to the labor market. TANF appears to have had a larger effect on the least educated native-born women and among foreign-born non-citizens, a larger effect on more recent arrivals. The 'chilling' hypothesis that has received so much attention in the popular press is not supported by our results. Finally, our estimates indicate that TANF had no effect on native- and foreign-born citizens' marriage decisions. TANF was associated with a decrease in the marriage rates of foreign-born non-citizens.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal, 2001. "Immigrant and Native Responses to Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 8541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8541 Note: LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-261, March.
    2. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, "undated". "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or Economic Growth?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1151-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    3. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    4. 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.
    5. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221.
    6. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-637, October.
    7. James P. Ziliak & David N. Figlio & Elizabeth E. Davis & Laura S. Connolly, 2000. "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or the Economy?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 570-586.
    8. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
    9. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    10. David N. Figlio & James P. Ziliak, 1999. "Welfare Reform, the Business Cycle, and the Decline in AFDC Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 77, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2003. "What if welfare had no work requirements? the age of youngest child exemption and the rise in employment of single mothers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    3. Martin Kahanec & Anna Myung-Hee Kim & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2013. "Pitfalls of immigrant inclusion into the European welfare state," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 39-55, March.
    4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    5. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Family Formation," Working Papers 09-08, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Chris Herbst, 2013. "Welfare reform and the subjective well-being of single mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 203-238, January.
    7. Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman & June O'Neill, 2003. "Has welfare reform changed teenage behaviors?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 225-248.
    8. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    9. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    10. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    11. Jeffrey T. Lewis, 2007. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Employment and Labor Supply of Female High School Dropouts," New York Economic Review, New York State Economics Association (NYSEA), pages 37-60.
    12. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
    13. Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Kahanec, Martin & Giulietti, Corrado & Guzi, Martin & Barrett, Alan & Maitre, Bertrand, 2012. "Report No. 43: Study on Active Inclusion of Migrants," IZA Research Reports 43, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Tara Watson, 2014. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-338, August.
    15. Waldfogel, Jane, 2004. "Welfare reform and the child welfare system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(10), pages 919-939, October.
    16. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Can Long-Term Cohabiting and Marital Unions be Incentivized?," Working Papers 12-01, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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