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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics