County Characteristics and Poverty Spell Length
Our research examines how individual and community factors influence the average length of poverty spells. We measure local economic conditions by the county unemployment rate and neighborhood spillover effects by the racial makeup and poverty rate of the county. We find that moving an individual from one standard deviation above the mean poverty rate to one standard deviation below the mean poverty rate (from the inner city to the suburbs) lowers the average poverty spell by 20–25 percent, this is equal in magnitude to the effect of changing the household head from female to male. Finally, we find that when we control for the demographic, human capital, and county level effects the conditional effect for high school graduates is only two months (85 percent smaller than the unconditional effect), black poverty spells are about eight months (half of the unconditional effect), and female headed households increase length of spells by about eight months (80 percent of the unconditional effect).
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Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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