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Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women

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  • Susanna Sandström
  • Timothy Smeeding

    ()

Abstract

Great strides have been made in reducing poverty amongst the elderly in most rich countries over the past forty years. But pensioner poverty has not been eradicated, especially in the English-speaking nations. Poverty rates amongst older women are much higher than those for older men and much higher in the United States compared to other nations. In general, poverty rates rise with both age and changes in living arrangements though living alone has a larger effect for women. Poverty rates among older women are highest amongst the divorced, widowed and never- married, groups whose prevalence within the elder population will rise significantly over the next decades. The challenge for policy makers is to design systems of retirement benefits that guarantee minimum standards of living for all elderly women while also preserving incentives for self-financed retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Susanna Sandström & Timothy Smeeding, 2005. "Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women," LIS Working papers 398, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lis:liswps:398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kathleen M. McGarry, 2002. "Guaranteed Income. SSI and the Well-Being of the Elderly Poor," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 49-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494.
    3. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Social Security and the Evolution of Elderly Poverty," NBER Working Papers 10466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Introduction to "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States"," NBER Chapters,in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 1-20 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robert Erikson & John H. Goldthorpe, 2002. "Intergenerational Inequality: A Sociological Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 31-44, Summer.
    6. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card93-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Smeeding, 2005. "Poor People in Rich Nations: The United States in Comparative Perspective," LIS Working papers 419, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Bannier, Christina E. & Schwarz, Milena, 2017. "Skilled but unaware of it: Occurrence and potential long-term effects of females' financial underconfidence," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168188, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. repec:eee:joepsy:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:66-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Timothy Smeeding & Teresa Munzi, 2005. "Poverty and Inequality: Greece and Mediterranean Europe in Comparative Perspective," LIS Working papers 421, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    5. Timothy Smeeding, 2005. "Causes and Conditions of Social Vulnerability in Comparative Perspective: Asian Evidence from the LIS Dataset," LIS Working papers 417, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    6. Madonna Harrington Meyer & Douglas A. Wolf & Christine L. Himes, 2006. "How Will Declining Rates of Marriage Reshape Eligibility for Social Security?," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 33, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    7. 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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