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Senior Poverty in Canada: A Decomposition Analysis


  • Tammy Schirle


Using 1977-79, 1994-96, and 2006-08 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) and Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), I conduct a decomposition analysis of senior poverty rates to determine whether changes in seniors' characteristics can help explain historical changes in senior poverty rates. I find that increases in the educational attainment of seniors significantly reduced senior poverty, but can only explain a small portion of the reduction in poverty rates between 1977-79 and 1994-96. I find that reductions in the extent to which age and independent living place seniors at risk of poverty significantly and substantially reduced senior poverty rates. Overall, the results support the assertion that retirement income policy is an important determinant of senior poverty in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Tammy Schirle, 2013. "Senior Poverty in Canada: A Decomposition Analysis," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(4), pages 517-540, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:39:y:2013:i:4:p:517-540

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan G. Green & David A. Green, 1999. "The Economic Goals of Canada's Immigration Policy, Past and Present," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(4), pages 425-451, December.
    2. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "Early Retirement Provisions and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 724-756, October.
    3. Schirle, Tammy, 2009. "Income Inequality Among Seniors in Canada: The Role of Women's Labour Market Experience," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-68, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Dec 2009.
    4. Michael R. Veall, 2008. "Canadian Seniors and the Low Income Measure," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 47-58, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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