Immigration and Welfare Magnets
46 Pages Posted: 12 May 1999 Last revised: 11 Oct 2010
Date Written: November 1998
This paper investigates if the location choices made by immigrants when they arrive in the United States are influenced by the interstate dispersion in welfare benefits. Income-maximizing behavior implies that foreign-born welfare recipients unlike their native-born counterparts, may be clustered in the states that offer the highest benefits. The empirical analysis indicates that immigrant welfare recipients are indeed more heavily clustered in high-benefit states than the immigrants who do not receive welfare, or than natives. As a result, the welfare participation rate of immigrants is much more sensitive to changes in welfare benefits than that of natives.
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