Social Influence Effects on Social Assistance Recipiency
AbstractA potential self-reinforcing component in the dynamics of social assistance (SA) is analyzed in this paper. The core hypothesis is that the SA recipiency of others can assert a positive influence on an individual's propensity to apply for SA. The mechanisms through which such influence may operate are discussed and a set of hypotheses linking individual action and macro-level SA are proposed and tested by means of pooled cross-sections time-series analysis. Data on all individuals aged 20-25 in the Stockholm region who received SA in the years 1990-9 are used for the analyses. Results indicate that the level of SA in one year has a positive effect on the next year's inflow of new SA recipients and a negative effect on the outflow, even when other relevant factors are controlled for. This lends support to the hypothesis of a self-reinforcing process.