American Economic Journal

Refugee Benefit Cuts

scientific article

14. May 2024

This paper analyzes the effects of Denmark’s Start Aid welfare reform that targets refugees. Implemented in 2002, it enables us to study not only the reform’s immediate effects but also its longer-term consequences and its repeal a decade later. The reform-induced large transfer cuts led to an increase in employment rates, but only in the short run. Overall, the reform increased poverty rates and led to a rise in subsistence crime. Moreover, local demand conditions generate substantial heterogeneity in the reform’s effects on immediate and longer-term employment.

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