Was there a nineteenth century welfare magnet in the United States? Preliminary results from New York City and Brooklyn

Kyle D. Kauffman, L. Lynne Kiesling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines the inter-jurisdictional migration effects of a very specific and localized shock to the distribution of outdoor poor relief (a precursor to the current welfare system) during the late nineteenth century. In 1878, the city of Brooklyn decided to eliminate all outdoor relief payments leaving only the highly undesirable option of entering the poor house. One option for poor Brooklyn residents was to travel to nearby New York City (at this time still different cities) and claim outdoor relief payments. The results of this early natural experiment suggest that the welfare magnet was not operating in the sense that there is little evidence to suggest that Brooklyn residents migrated to New York City to claim public outdoor relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalQuarterly Review of Economics and Finance
Volume37
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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