Paul Hagstrom

Poverty rates of refugees and immigrants

Refugees are typically poorer than other immigrants and native born, although the average difference is smal, with changes in the unemployment rate explaining most of the difference in poverty rates. In times of recession, or in areas with particularly high unemployment rates, refugees will fare worse, perhaps due to concentrations of refugees in industries with higher cyclical variation in unemployment. We also find that refugees’ poverty rates start higher but fall more rapidly with time, suggesting that refugees assimilate more rapidly than other immigrants.

Food Stamp Program participation of refugees and immigrants

We estimate a model of food stamp program participation allowing for differences between refugees and immigrants. The model examines pre and post reform participation. It further isolates the effect of local labor markets. Using auxiliary information from the INS’ Statistical Yearbooks we are able to identify the impact refugee status has on participation. We demonstrate that regressions using ad hoc variables are subject to severe measurement error bias. We also correct for measurement error in the report of food stamp participation.