Immigrant Participation in Welfare Benefits in the Netherlands

21 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2011


The efficiency of Dutch welfare system is at the heart of debate as long as immigrants are overrepresented in social welfare benefits during the working age period. This paper examines the degree of participation in social assistance, disability and unemployment benefits across ethnic groups using register data of the entire population in the Netherlands. The analysis shows that migrants are drastically more likely to have a benefit, in particular social assistance and disability benefits. A large part of migrants' dependence can be explained by their background characteristics and immigration history but still a significant unexplained residual is left. Most notably, the probability of welfare use of non-western second generation is about twice as high as the probability of western immigrants, which is a true challenge for policy makers.

Keywords: ethnic minorities, benefits, inactivity

JEL Classification: J15, J32

Suggested Citation

Zorlu, Aslan, Immigrant Participation in Welfare Benefits in the Netherlands. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6128. Available at SSRN:

Aslan Zorlu (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics