Social Policy and U.S. Poverty 1960-1999: An Economic History
AbstractInterrogates poverty debate (growth versus redistribution) reignited by underperforming poverty reductions during 1980s' social spending austerity compared to 1960s' "War on Poverty." Growth and inequality explain 75% 1959-1999 poverty variation; census measurement changes 17%. Significantly, census measurement changes plus overestimated inflation biased-up 1980s measured poverty (deflated 1960s) partly explaining eighties' underperformance. Growth's poverty effect remained constant; rising inequality required 1980's growth 50% higher (1960s) for equivalent poverty reductions. Counterfactual simulations 1959-1999: absent rising earnings inequality, growth drives poverty to 5.4%; increased workerless households offset two-thirds poverty reduction from cash transfers; had Carter and Reagan redistributed like predecessors, poverty reduced one-half.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 90.
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-07-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-FDG-2011-07-21 (Financial Development & Growth)
- NEP-HIS-2011-07-21 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-PKE-2011-07-21 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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