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Migration amoung low-income households: Helping the witch doctors reach consensus

James Walker

Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers from University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty

Abstract: Do states with high welfare benefits attract low-income people from other states? Using data from the County to County Migration Flow Files from the 1980 census, I investigate this question by reintroducing migration rates into the definition of welfare migrants and examining situations in which a person moves from one state to a neighboring state whose welfare benefits are appreciably higher. I find no compelling evidence in support of the welfare magnet theory; my results are as likely to validate as they are to refute the hypothesis.

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