Consumption and Income Poverty over the Business Cycle
AbstractWe examine the relationship between the business cycle and poverty for the period from 1960 to 2008 using income data from the Current Population Survey and consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This new evidence on the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and poverty is of particular interest given recent changes in anti-poverty policies that have placed greater emphasis on participation in the labor market and in-kind transfers. We look beyond official poverty, examining alternative income poverty and consumption poverty, which have conceptual and empirical advantages as measures of the well-being of the poor. We find that both income and consumption poverty are sensitive to macroeconomic conditions. A one percentage point increase in unemployment is associated with an increase in the after-tax income poverty rate of 0.9 to 1.1 percentage points in the long-run, and an increase in the consumption poverty rate of 0.3 to 1.2 percentage points in the long-run. The evidence on whether income is more responsive to the business cycle than consumption is mixed. Income poverty does appear to be more responsive using national level variation, but consumption poverty is often more responsive to unemployment when using regional variation. Low percentiles of both income and consumption are sensitive to macroeconomic conditions, and in most cases low percentiles of income appear to be more responsive than low percentiles of consumption.
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 16751.
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “Consumption and Income Poverty Over the Business Cycle,” (with James X. Sullivan), Research in Labor Economics 32, 2011, 51-81. Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012.
Note: CH ED LS PE
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
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
- E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
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.:
- Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009.
"The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences,"
0903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 15181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009.
"Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty,"
NBER Working Papers
14827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," Working Papers 0907, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Bruce Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2010. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Proverty," Working Papers 2010-003, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
- 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.
- Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2007.
"Further Results on Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption,"
0719, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2007. "Further Results on Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 13413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hilary Hoynes & Marianne Page & Ann Stevens, 2005.
"Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations,"
NBER Working Papers
11681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jon Bakija, 2006. "Documentation for a Comprehensive Historical U.S. Federal and State Income Tax Calculator Program," Department of Economics Working Papers 2006-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Aug 2009.
- Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1993. "Poverty, Income Distribution, and Growth: Are They Still Connected," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 285-340.
- Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Luis Ayala & Olga Cantó & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2011. "Poverty and the business cycle: The role of the intra-household distribution of unemployment," Working Papers 222, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
- Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodriguez, 2012. "Macroeconomic determinants of inequality of opportunity and effort in the US: 1970-2009," Working Papers 249, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
- Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011.
"Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1978-2009: A Decomposition Approach,"
IZA Discussion Papers
5910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Herwig Immervoll & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax policy and income inequality in the U.S., 1978—2009: A decomposition approach," Working Papers 215, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
- Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes & Elira Kuka, 2014. "Do In-Work Tax Credits Serve as a Safety Net?," NBER Working Papers 19785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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.