Publication Date


Award Type

Honorable Mention

Dissertation Advisor

Robert Moffitt


This dissertation examines whether AFDC benefit differentials affect the location choices of those eligible for AFDC. The issue is of concern to policymakers determining the level of autonomy states should have in administering AFDC and it is a concern in welfare research where the variation in benefits is used to identify other incentive effects of AFDC. There is a substantial literature on AFDC and migration, but unresolved theoretical and methodological issues have led to mixed results among studies to date. I develop two estimation strategies, one that improves upon previous models of individuals' location choices at a point in time and one that improves upon previous models of individuals' decisions to migrate between two points in time. Estimation of both models is guided by a framework of individual decision making in which the choice of where to live and the choice of whether or not to receive welfare are made sequentially.

Link to dissertation full text