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An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY

  • P. B. Levine
  • D. J. Zimmerman

This paper examines the extent to which differences in welfare generosity across states lead to interstate migration. Using microdata from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth between 1979 and 1992, we employ a quasi-experimental design that utilizes the categorical eligibility of the welfare system. The "treatment" group consists of all those in the survey who appear eligible to participate in Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The "control" group contains those who are poor but ineligible for other reasons. The pattern of cross-state moves among poor single women with children who are likely to be eligible for benefits (treatment-group members) 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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Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1098-96.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1098-96
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  1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Robert Moffitt, 1988. "Has State Redistribution Policy Grown More Conservative?," NBER Working Papers 2516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. 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.
  12. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
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