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Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells

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  • Ann Huff Stevens

Abstract

This paper investigates the persistence of poverty over individuals' life-times using a hazard rate approach that accounts for multiple spells of poverty and incorporates spell duration, individual and household characteristics, and unobserved heterogeneity. The findings highlight the importance of considering multiple spells in an analysis of poverty persistence, with half of those who end poverty spells returning to poverty within four years. Accounting for multiple spells shows that approximately 50 percent of blacks and 30 percent of whites falling into poverty in some year will have family income below the poverty line in five or more of the next ten years.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 34 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 557-588

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:34:y:1999:i:3:p:557-588

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  1. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1994. "The Dynamics of Poverty Spells: Updating Bane and Ellwood," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 34-37, May.
  2. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  3. Thomas S. Coleman, 1989. "Unemployment Behavior: Evidence from the CPS Work Experience Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-38.
  4. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  5. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  6. Daniel E. Sichel, 1989. "Business cycle asymmetry: a deeper look," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 93, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-28, April.
  8. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
  9. Karl Ashworth & Martha Hill & Robert Walker, 1994. "Patterns of childhood poverty: New challenges for policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 658-680.
  10. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  11. David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Targeting "Would-Be" Long-Term Recipients of AFDC," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 652, Mathematica Policy Research.
  12. John C. Ham & Samuel Rea, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Working Papers 592, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
  14. Gottschald, Peter T, 1982. "Earnings Mobility: Permanent Change or Transitory Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 450-56, August.
  15. Gottschalk, Peter & Moffitt, Robert A, 1994. "Welfare Dependence: Concepts, Measures, and Trends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 38-42, May.
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