Immigration and the evolving American welfare state: Examining policies in the U.S. States

Rodney E. Hero, Robert R. Preuhs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The inclusion of racial/ethnic minorities is often considered an important factor leading to a relatively limited American welfare system. However, given the federal nature of welfare eligibility rules and the states' role in determining benefit levels, few studies explicitly link questions of inclusion and benefit levels when explaining the evolution of American welfare policy. This study examines the relationship between inclusion and benefit levels by analyzing state policies related to the welfare reforms of 1996 which allowed states to decide if recent immigrants would be included in welfare benefits, and subsequently the extent to which this decision affected overall benefit levels offered by states under TANF. The results suggest that states' decisions regarding inclusion subsequently affect benefit levels, with the direction of these relationships most closely reflecting the erosion model's prediction of broader eligibility associated with lower benefit levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-517
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Immigration and the evolving American welfare state: Examining policies in the U.S. States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this