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Social indicators and the study of inequality


  • Marcia K. Meyers
  • Irwin Garfinkel


This paper was presented at the conference "Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being" as part of session 5, "Social indicators in New York City." The conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 7, 1999. The authors address some of the challenges faced by economists and others who undertake to measure well-being and inequality and to identify inequality's causes and effects. Their project - the New York City Social Indicators Survey (SIS) - uses social indicators to track economic well-being and inequality. By pushing beyond the limitations of current data sources, SIS will enable the authors to collect the data necessary to define inequality in concrete terms and evaluate whether New York City is becoming more or less unequal. Significantly, it will also shed light on what effect government policies have on inequality's magnitude and consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcia K. Meyers & Irwin Garfinkel, 1999. "Social indicators and the study of inequality," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 149-163.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:1999:i:sep:p:149-163:n:v.5no.3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1998. "Did We Lose the War on Poverty?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 79-96, Winter.
    2. Johnston, Denis F., 1989. "Some Reflections on the United States," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 433-436, October.
    3. Bulmer, Martin, 1989. "Problems of Theory and Measurement," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 407-412, October.
    4. Susan E. Mayer & Christopher Jencks, 1989. "Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 88-114.
    5. Christopher Jencks & Susan E. Mayer, "undated". "Do Official Poverty Rates Provide Useful Information about Trends in Children's Economic Welfare?," IPR working papers 96-1, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
    6. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. A. Nichols-Casebolt & P. M. Morris, "undated". "Making Ends Meet: Private Food Assistance and the Working Poor," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1222-01, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.


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