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Presidential address: How to improve poverty measurement in the United States

  • Rebecca M. Blank

    (University of Michigan)

This paper discusses the reasons why the current official U.S. poverty measure is outdated and nonresponsive to many anti-poverty initiatives. A variety of efforts to update and improve the statistic have failed, for political, technical, and institutional reasons. Meanwhile, the European Union is taking a very different approach to poverty measurement. The paper ends with four recommended steps that would allow the U.S. to improve its measurement of poverty and economic need.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 233-254

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:233-254
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  1. Notten, Geranda & Neubourg, Chris de, 2007. "Relative or absolute poverty in the US and EU? The battle of the rates," MPRA Paper 5313, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 May 2007.
  2. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2003. "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "Poor People in Rich Nations: The United States in Comparative Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 69-90, Winter.
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