Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells
This paper investigates the persistence of poverty over individuals' life-times using a hazard rate approach that accounts for multiple spells of poverty and incorporates spell duration, individual and household characteristics, and unobserved heterogeneity. The findings highlight the importance of considering multiple spells in an analysis of poverty persistence, with half of those who end poverty spells returning to poverty within four years. Accounting for multiple spells shows that approximately 50 percent of blacks and 30 percent of whites falling into poverty in some year will have family income below the poverty line in five or more of the next ten years.
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