The Poor and the Poorest, Fifty Years On
AbstractWe re-explore Able-Smith and Townsend's landmark study of poverty in early post WW2 Britain. They found a large increase in poverty between 1953-4 and 1960, a period of relatively strong economic growth. Our re-examination is a first exploitation of the newly-digitised Board of Trade Household Expenditure Survey data set for 1953/4. Able-Smith and Townsend used only a small part of this data source. We find that Able-Smith and Townsend substantially over-estimated the rise in absolute poverty and also substantially under-estimated the rise in relative poverty. Their and our findings on poverty reflect a large rise inequality in the distribution of expenditure among British households. This rise is related to a rise in the preponderance of pensioner households, who, for instance, account for all the poor households in the 1961 Family Expenditure survey.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7909.
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-02-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2014-02-08 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HME-2014-02-08 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
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