Source-country social programs and the age composition of legal US immigrants

Michael J. Greenwood, John M. McDowell, Matt Wierman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In this study we use the concept of the marginal migrant to develop a theoretical model of the age composition of US immigration. Two age classes of immigrants are distinguished, 20-34 and 50 and over, along with sex and entry class (numerically restricted, numerically exempt). Annual data (1972-1991) for 109 source countries are pooled, and the Hausman-Taylor instrumental variable technique is employed to estimate regressions that satisfy adding-up restrictions. Along with measures of differential economic opportunities, migration costs, and US institutional controls, we incorporate into the analysis a unique set of variables relating to social programs in source countries. Such programs prove to be significant determinants of the age composition of US immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-771
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Age composition
  • Legal US immigrants
  • Social programs
  • Source-country

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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