The Dynamics and Persistence of Poverty: Evidence from Italy
This article studies the dynamics and persistence of poverty in Italy during the nineties (1994-2001). Two definitions of poverty are analyzed: income poverty and a multidimensional index of life-style deprivation. For both definitions, poverty exit and re-entry rates are estimated and combined to compute measures of poverty persistence over multiple spells. A picture of high poverty turnover emerges according to either definition. Multi-spell hazard rate models have been estimated to assess the relative importance of several demographic and labor market characteristics in shaping poverty persistence at the individual level. The results highlight the weaknesses of the Italian labor market, the insufficiencies of the existing social security system and the deep territorial dualism in generating persistent poverty for certain groups of the population. We have stressed the ability of the two definitions to provide a generally consistent characterization of the poverty persistence risks faced by various population subgroups, but also the additional insights to be gained by analyzing the two definitions in parallel in a longitudinal context.
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