IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Public Assistance and Private Support of Immigrants


  • Lingxin Hao


This study addresses receiving AFDC and private support (both monetary and nonmonetary) and their interrelationship among immigrant families with dependent children. Building upon social capital theory, our theoretical framework emphasizes the role of community social capital and hypothesizes links between social capital and the receipt of public and private support, and the complementary nature of AFDC and private support for immigrant families. The latter hypothesis stands in contrast to existing economic theory which argues for a "crowding out" hypothesis under which AFDC support reduces private support and leads immigrant families to assimilate into a welfare culture. In a methodological step forward from the literature, we develop measures of both the quantity and quality of community social capital, coethnic contact and coethnic economic activity at the county level, to test our hypotheses. There are two sets of major findings. The first demonstrate the effects of community social capital on the receipt of AFDC and private support. The second show no displacement of private monetary support by AFDC for immigrants and that the complementary relationship between AFDC and private non-monetary support is stronger for immigrants than for natives, thereby challenging the crowding out hypothesis and welfare assimilation. Our findings reveal the importance of including the quality of community social capital and considering nonmonetary forms of private support in the analysis. An important policy implication is that policy makers do not need to fear that receipt of ADFC will lead immigrant families with children to adopt the American welfare culture since our results show that AFDC complements private support among immigrants, much more strongly than among natives.

Suggested Citation

  • Lingxin Hao, 2000. "Public Assistance and Private Support of Immigrants," JCPR Working Papers 171, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:171

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Hatton, T.J. & Williamson, J.G., 1992. "What Drove the Mass Migrations from Europe in the Late Ninteenth Century," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1614, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. 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.
    4. Kenneth Bollen & David Guilkey & Thomas Mroz, 1995. "Binary outcomes and endogenous explanatory variables: Tests and solutions with an application to the demand for contraceptive use in tunisia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 111-131, February.
    5. Douglas S. Massey & Michael J. White & Voon-Chin Phua, 1996. "The Dimensions of Segregation Revisited," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 25(2), pages 172-206, November.
    6. Jennifer Hook & Jennifer Glick & Frank Bean, 1999. "Public assistance receipt among immigrants and natives: How the unit of analysis affects research findings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(1), pages 111-120, February.
    7. Francine D. Blau, 1984. "The Use of Transfer Payments by Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(2), pages 222-239, January.
    8. George J. Borjas, 1992. "National Origin and the Skills of Immigrants in the Postwar Period," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 17-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:171. 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: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.