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Did We Lose the War on Poverty?

  • Dale W. Jorgenson
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    Official U.S. poverty statistics based on household income imply that the proportion of the U.S. population below the poverty level reached a minimum in 1973, giving rise to the widespread impression that the elimination of poverty is impossible. By contrast, poverty estimates based on household consumption have fallen through 1989 and imply that the war on poverty was a success. This paper recommends replacing income by consumption in official estimates of poverty in order to obtain a more accurate assessment of the impact of income support programs and economic growth on the level and distribution of economic well-being among households.

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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 79-96

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:1:p:79-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.79
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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, July.
    2. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    3. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
    4. Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
    5. Jorgenson, Dale W & Slesnick, Daniel T, 1999. "Indexing Government Programs for Changes in the Cost of Living," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(2), pages 170-81, April.
    6. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, July.
    7. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
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