June 2012

IZA DP No. 6649: Immigrant Networks and the Take-Up of Disability Programs: Evidence from US Census Data

published in: Economic Inquiry, 2016, 54 (1), 247–267

This paper examines the role of ethnic networks in disability program take-up among working-age immigrants in the United States. We find that even when controlling for country of origin and area of residence fixed effects, immigrants residing amidst a large number of co-ethnics are more likely to receive disability payments when their ethnic groups have higher take-up rates. Although this pattern can be partially explained by cross-group differences in satisfying the work history or income and asset requirements of the disability programs, we also find that social norms and, to a lesser extent, information sharing play important roles.