Fear and the Safety Net: Evidence from Secure Communities

49 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2018

See all articles by Marcella Alsan

Marcella Alsan

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Crystal Yang

Harvard Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

This paper studies how changes in deportation fear induced by the roll-out of Secure Communities (SC), a far-reaching immigration enforcement program, affected the demand for safety net programs in the United States. We estimate the spillover effect of SC on the take-up of federal means-tested programs by Hispanic citizens, who are not themselves eligible for removal. We find significant declines in SNAP and SSI enrollment, particularly among mixed-citizenship status households. The response is muted for Hispanic households residing in sanctuary cities. Our results are most consistent with network effects that perpetuate fear rather than lack of benefit information, measurement error, or stigma.

Suggested Citation

Alsan, Marcella and Yang, Crystal, Fear and the Safety Net: Evidence from Secure Communities (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24731. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198045

Marcella Alsan (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Crystal Yang

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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