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Personal Assessments of Minimum Income and Expenses: What Do They Tell Us about 'Minimum Living' Thresholds and Equivalence Scales?

  • Thesia I. Garner

    ()

    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Kathleen Short

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

Subjective minimum income (MIQ) and minimum spending (MSQ) are the study focus. Basic Needs Module (1995) data from the U.S. Survey of Income and Program Participation are analyzed. A regression intersection approach is used to estimate household thresholds. MIQ thresholds are higher than MSQ thresholds. Both are higher than U.S. official poverty thresholds, and thresholds based on a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) methodology. Subjective threshold based equivalence scales imply greater economies of scale than those in the other two measures but are similar to behavioral scales. This finding suggests that families make trade-offs to meet their minimum needs.

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File URL: http://www.bls.gov/ore/pdf/ec050050.pdf
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Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 379.

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Length: 65 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in John A. Bishop and Yoram Amiel, eds., Inequality, Welfare and Poverty: Theory and Measurement, Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 9, Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science, 2003, pp.191-243.
Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec050050
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  1. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Guglielmo Weber, 2002. "Asking Consumption Questions in General Purpose Surveys," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 77, McMaster University.
  2. Danziger, Sheldon, et al, 1984. "The Direct Measurement of Welfare Levels: How Much Does It Cost to Make Ends Meet?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 500-505, August.
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  4. Nord, Mark, 2004. "Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, June.
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  7. Callan, Tim & Nolan, Brian, 1991. " Concepts of Poverty and the Poverty Line," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 243-61.
  8. Bruce Bradbury, 1988. "Family Size Equivalence Scales and Survey Evaluation of Income and Well-Being," Discussion Papers 005, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  9. de Vos, Klaas & Garner, Thesia I, 1991. "An Evaluation of Subjective Poverty Definitions: Comparing Results from the U.S. and the Netherlands," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 267-85, September.
  10. Diane Colasanto & Arie Kapteyn & Jacques van der Gaag, 1984. "Two Subjective Definitions of Poverty: Results from the Wisconsin Basic Needs Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 127-138.
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