Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States

Contents:

Author Info

  • Yonatan Ben-Shalom
  • Robert A. Moffitt
  • John Karl Scholz

Abstract

We assess the effectiveness of means-tested and social insurance programs in the United States. We show that per capita expenditures on these programs as a whole have grown over time but expenditures on some programs have declined. The benefit system in the U.S. has a major impact on poverty rates, reducing the percent poor in 2004 from 29 percent to 13.5 percent, estimates which are robust to different measures of the poverty line. We find that, while there are significant behavioral side effects of many programs, their aggregate impact is very small and does not affect the magnitude of the aggregate poverty impact of the system. The system reduces poverty the most for the disabled and the elderly and least for several groups among the non-elderly and non-disabled. Over time, we find that expenditures have shifted toward the disabled and the elderly, and away from those with the lowest incomes and toward those with higher incomes, with the consequence that post-transfer rates of deep poverty for some groups have increased. We conclude that the U.S. benefit system is paternalistic and tilted toward the support of the employed and toward groups with special needs and perceived deservingness.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17042.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17042.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as An Ass ess m ent of th e Ef fe ct ivenes s of Ant i- Povert y Programs in t he Un it ed S ta te s. In Oxfor d Han dboo k of t he Econ om ic s of Povert y, ed. P. J ef fe rs on, Ox for d Uni versi ty Pre ss, 201 2 ( wit h Y. Be n- Shal om and J .K . Scho lz).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17042

Note: LS PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Links of the Week - 21 March 2014
    by Jonas Feit in Conscience Warrior on 2014-03-22 18:50:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Oliver Denk & Robert P. Hagemann & Patrick Lenain & Valentin Somma, 2013. "Inequality and Poverty in the United States: Public Policies for Inclusive Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1052, OECD Publishing.
  2. Jeffrey Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2011. "Inequality in the Great Recession: The Case of the United States," Working Papers wp271, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  3. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2013. "WIC in your neighborhood: New evidence on the impacts of geographic access to clinics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 51-69.
  4. Jeffrey P. Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2013. "Inequality and poverty in the United States: the aftermath of the Great Recession," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert, 2013. "Cohabitation and the Uneven Retreat from Marriage in the U.S., 1950-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 7607, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Robert A. Moffitt, 2012. "The U.S. Employment-Population Reversal in the 2000s: Facts and Explanations," Economics Working Paper Archive 604, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  7. Philip Armour & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2013. "Levels and Trends in United States Income and Its Distribution A Crosswalk from Market Income Towards a Comprehensive Haig-Simons Income Approach," NBER Working Papers 19110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes, 2013. "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: The Safety Net, Living Arrangements, and Poverty in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 19449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Liana Fox & Irwin Garfinkel & Neeraj Kaushal & Jane Waldfogel & Christopher Wimer, 2014. "Waging War on Poverty: Historical Trends in Poverty Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure," NBER Working Papers 19789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2013. "Benefit incidence with incentive effects, measurement errors and latent heterogeneity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6573, The World Bank.
  11. Lane Kenworthy & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in the United States," GINI Country Reports united_states, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  12. Mariano Bosch & Marco Manacorda, 2012. "Social Policies and Labor Market Outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Review of the Existing Evidence," CEP Occasional Papers 32, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17042. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.