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Asset Poverty in the United States, 1984-1999: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Listed author(s):
  • Asena Caner
  • Edward N. Wolff

Using PSID data for the years 1984 to 1999, we estimate the level and severity of asset poverty. Our results indicate that the share of asset-poor households remained almost the same and the severity of poverty increased during this period, despite the growth in the economy and the financial markets. The race, age, education, and marital status of the household head, and homeownership, are important determinants of asset poverty. There seems to be a downward trend in the contribution to asset poverty of being a college graduate, a married elderly or a black head of household, a single mother, or a married person with children. The contributions of not having a college degree, being a 35 to 49 year-old household head, being a childless nonelderly couple, or being an unmarried elderly person seem to have increased. The contribution to net worth poverty of being a homeowner also went up. Descriptive statistics suggest that changes in the value of assets are more effective in transitions into and out of asset poverty than are changes in debt. Some lifetime events, such as changes in marital, homeownership, or business ownership status, are also correlated with the transitions.

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File URL: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp356.pdf
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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_356.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_356
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. Ann Huff Stevens, 1995. "Climbing Out of Poverty, Falling Back In: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty over Multiple Spells," NBER Working Papers 5390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles Brown & Greg J. Duncan & Frank P. Stafford, 1996. "Data Watch: The Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 155-168, Spring.
  3. Joseph Tracy & Henry Schneider & Sewin Chan, 1999. "Are stocks overtaking real estate in household portfolios?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Apr).
  4. Maury Gittleman & Edward N. Wolff, 2000. "Racial Wealth Disparities: Is the Gap Closing?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_311, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. Ruggles, Patricia & Williams, Roberton, 1989. "Longitudinal Measures of Poverty: Accounting for Income and Assets over Time," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(3), pages 225-243, September.
  6. Wolff, Edward N, 1990. "Wealth Holdings and Poverty Status in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 143-165, June.
  7. Jorgenson, Dale W & Slesnick, Daniel T, 1987. "Aggregate Consumer Behavior and Household Equivalence Scales," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(2), pages 219-232, April.
  8. Robert K. Triest, 1998. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 97-114, Winter.
  9. Raghuram, G. & Padmanabhan G, "undated". "The Trucking Industry: An Introductory Note," IIMA Working Papers WP1992-05-01_01102, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  10. 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.
  11. Haveman, Robert & Bershadker, Andrew, 1998. "Self-Reliance as a Poverty Criterion: Trends in Earnings-Capacity Poverty, 1975-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 342-347, May.
  12. Haveman, Robert H & Bershadker, Andrew, 2001. "The "Inability to be Self-Reliant" As an Indicator of Poverty: Trends for the U.S., 1975-97," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 335-360, September.
  13. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
  14. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
  15. Smeeding, Timothy M, et al, 1993. "Poverty, Inequality, and Family Living Standards Impacts across Seven Nations: The Effect of Noncash Subsidies for Health, Education and Housing," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(3), pages 229-256, September.
  16. Joan R. Rodgers & John L. Rodgers, 1993. "Chronic Poverty in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 25-54.
  17. Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "The Rising Tide Lifts...?," NBER Working Papers 8155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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