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The Rising Tide Lifts...?

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  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

To what extent did the economic boom of the 1990s-early 2000s improve the well-being of persons in the bottom rungs of the income distribution? This paper uses a pooled cross-state time series regression design to estimate the effect of earnings, unemployment, and inequality on poverty in the boom. I find that the tight labor market reduced poverty substantively, gainsaying the gloom that developed in the 1980s about the effect of economic growth on the less advantaged; and that socially undesirable behaviour also fell in the period, potentially due in part to the boom.. While the rising tide of economic progress can lift many boats, however, around 6-8% of Americans cannot be so helped, and thus constitute a relatively long term poverty population. Moreover, the level of the tide needed to improve the conditions of the less advantaged is a 4-5% unemployment rate, not the 6-6.5% unemployment once viewed as the NAIRU.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8155.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8155

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  1. Raphael, Steven & WINTER-EBMER, RUDOLF, 1998. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt5hb4h56g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Temple, Jonathan, 2002. "An Assessment of the New Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3597, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. James Hines & Hilary Hoynes & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Another Look at Whether a Rising Tide Lifts All Boats," Working Papers 833, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Dierk Herzer & Rainer Klump, 2006. "Poverty, Government Transfers, and the Business Cycle: Evidence for the United States," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 141, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Hilary W. Hoynes & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2006. "Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 47-68, Winter.
  5. Ian Irvine & Kuan Xu, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and Poverty in the United States," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive uspov, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.

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