The Journal of Politics


A Wider Race? Interstate Competition across Health and Welfare Programs

Michael A. Baileya1 c1 and Mark Carl Roma1 c2

a1 Georgetown University


Does interstate competition reduce welfare generosity? Most analyses of this question focus on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefit levels. The welfare-reducing logic of interstate competition should apply to all redistributive programs, however. We test for competitive effects more generally, examining several measures of welfare generosity for AFDC, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income-State (SSI-S) policy. We find evidence of interstate competition across multiple programs and measures over which states have authority. We also find variation in the effects that is consistent with variation in political debates across the programs.

(Online publication March 05 2002)

(Received June 03 2003)


c1 Michael A. Bailey is associate professor of government, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057 (

c2 Mark Carl Rom is associate professor of government and public policy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007-2670 (