The Immigrant Welfare Effect: Take-Up or Eligibility?

35 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2000

See all articles by Edward J. Bird

Edward J. Bird

University of Rochester

Hilke Kayser

Hamilton College

Joachim R. Frick

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) (Deceased) ; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) (Deceased)

Gert G. Wagner

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Berlin University of Technology; German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)

Date Written: October 1999

Abstract

Are immigrants on welfare because they are more likely to be eligible or because they are more likely to claim benefits for which they are eligible? The answer is politically important, but because most current research on immigration and welfare is based on data from the U.S. the answer is difficult due to the complexities of the transfer system which make eligibility determinations difficult. In Germany, by contrast, eligibility for the main cash transfer program, Sozialhilfe (Social Assistance), is determined by a comparatively simple nation-wide formula. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to test whether immigrants to Germany are more likely than natives to claim welfare benefits for which they are eligible. We find that immigrants are more likely than native Germans to receive welfare, when eligible, to claim their benefits. However, we also find that this greater propensity to take-up benefits is not related to important status per se: When other socio-demographic factors are accounted for in an appropriate manner, immigrants households are no more likely to take up benefits than native households.

JEL Classification: H53, I38, J61

Suggested Citation

Bird, Edward J. and Kayser, Hilke and Frick, Joachim R. and Wagner, Gert G., The Immigrant Welfare Effect: Take-Up or Eligibility? (October 1999). IZA Discussion Paper No. 66. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=199669 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.199669

Edward J. Bird

University of Rochester ( email )

Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-7840 (Phone)
585-271-1616 (Fax)

Hilke Kayser

Hamilton College ( email )

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
United States

Joachim R. Frick

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) (Deceased) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) (Deceased)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Gert G. Wagner (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9200 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/programme/jsp/MA.jsp?language=en&uid=gwagner

Berlin University of Technology ( email )

Straße des 17
Berlin, 10623
Germany
+30 8 978 9283 (Phone)

German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) ( email )

DIW Berlin
10108 Berlin, Berlin
Germany
+49 30 8978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw/en/soep

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