Economic Well-Being at Older Ages: Income- and Consumption-Based Poverty Measures in the HRS
AbstractAccording to economic theory, well-being or utility depends on consumption. However, at the household level, total consumption is rarely measured because its collection requires a great deal of survey time. As a result income has been widely used to assess economic well-being and poverty rates. Yet, because households can use wealth to consume more than income, an income-based measure of well-being could yield misleading results for many households, especially at older ages. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to find income-based poverty rates which we compare with poverty rates as measured in the Current Population Survey. We use HRS consumption data to calculate a consumption-based poverty rate and study the relationship between income-based and consumption-based poverty measures. We find that the poverty rate based on consumption is lower than the income-based poverty rate. Particularly noteworthy is the much lower rate among the oldest single persons such as widows. The explanation for the difference is the ability to consume out of wealth.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12680.
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2006. "Economic Well-Being at Older Ages: Income- and Consumption-Based Poverty Measures in the HRS," Working Papers 410, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-11-18 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
- Dirk Krueger & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, 2004.
"Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data,"
2004 Meeting Papers
173, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Centro de AltiÂsimos Estudios RiÂos PeÂ©rez(CAERP) 7, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
- Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2003. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000304, David K. Levine.
- Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
- Short, Kathleen, et al, 1998. "Poverty-Measurement Research Using the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 352-56, May.
- Thesia I. Garner & Kathleen Short, 2005. "Economic Well-Being Based on Income, Consumer Expenditures and Personal Assessments of Minimal Needs," Working Papers 381, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Michael Hurd & F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2003. "Enhancing the Quality of Data on Income: Recent Innovations from the HRS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
- Krishna Pendakur, 2001. "Consumption Poverty in Canada, 1969 to 1998," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(2), pages 125-149, June.
- Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007.
"Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
- Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 9382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael D. Hurd & Daniel McFadden & Harish Chand & Li Gan & Angela Menill & Michael Roberts, 1998. "Consumption and Savings Balances of the Elderly: Experimental Evidence on Survey Response Bias," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 353-392 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2003. "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jorgenson, Dale W & Slesnick, Daniel T, 1987. "Aggregate Consumer Behavior and Household Equivalence Scales," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(2), pages 219-32, April.
- Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
- Daniel H. Weinberg, 1999. "Fifty Years of U.S. Income Data from the Current Population Survey: Alternatives, Trends, and Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 18-22, May.
- Slesnick, Daniel T, 1994. "Consumption, Needs and Inequality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 677-703, August.
- Dale W. Jorgenson, 1998. "Did We Lose the War on Poverty?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 79-96, Winter.
- Peter Saunders, 1997. "Poverty, Choice and Legitimacy," Discussion Papers 0076, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
- Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2012.
"Economic well-being and poverty among the elderly: An analysis based on a collective consumption model,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 985-1000.
- Cherchye, L.J.H. & Rock, B. de & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2008. "Economic Well-Being and Poverty Among the Elderly: An Analysis Based on a Collective Consumption Model," Discussion Paper 2008-15, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederik Vermeulen, 2008. "Economic well-being and poverty among the elderly: an analysis based on a collective consumption model," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0807, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
- Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2008. "Economic Well-Being and Poverty among the Elderly: An Analysis Based on a Collective Consumption Model," IZA Discussion Papers 3349, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2012. "Economic well-being and poverty among the elderly: an analysis based on a collective consumption model," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/131702, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2010. "The Effects of the Economic Crisis on the Older Population," Working Papers wp231, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Christopher House & John Laitner & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2006. "Home Production by Dual Earner Couples and Consumption During Retirement," Working Papers wp143, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Jones, Carol Adaire & Milkove, Daniel & Paszkiewicz, Laura, 2010. "Farm Household Well-Being: Comparing Consumption- and Income-Based Measures," Economic Research Report 58299, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Jones, Carol Adaire & Milkove, Daniel & Paszkiewicz, Laura, 2009. "Measuring Farm Household Well-Being: Comparing Consumption and Income-based Measures," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49355, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.