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Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells

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  • Ann Huff Stevens

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Huff Stevens, 1999. "Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 557-588.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:34:y:1999:i:3:p:557-588
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    1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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    5. John C. Ham & Samuel A. Rea, 1986. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Working Papers 592, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1994. "The Dynamics of Poverty Spells: Updating Bane and Ellwood," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 34-37.
    7. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-375, April.
    8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    9. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
    10. Gottschald, Peter T, 1982. "Earnings Mobility: Permanent Change or Transitory Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 450-456, August.
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    12. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-353, July.
    13. Gottschalk, Peter & Moffitt, Robert A, 1994. "Welfare Dependence: Concepts, Measures, and Trends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 38-42.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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