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The Rising Tide Lifts...?

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  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

To what extent did the economic boom of the 1990s-early 2000s improve the well-being of persons in the bottom rungs of the income distribution? This paper uses a pooled cross-state time series regression design to estimate the effect of earnings, unemployment, and inequality on poverty in the boom. I find that the tight labor market reduced poverty substantively, gainsaying the gloom that developed in the 1980s about the effect of economic growth on the less advantaged; and that socially undesirable behaviour also fell in the period, potentially due in part to the boom.. While the rising tide of economic progress can lift many boats, however, around 6-8% of Americans cannot be so helped, and thus constitute a relatively long term poverty population. Moreover, the level of the tide needed to improve the conditions of the less advantaged is a 4-5% unemployment rate, not the 6-6.5% unemployment once viewed as the NAIRU.

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  • Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "The Rising Tide Lifts...?," NBER Working Papers 8155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8155
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    1. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-283, April.
    2. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dierk HERZER & Rainer KLUMP, 2009. "Poverty, Government Transfers, And The Business Cycle: Evidence For The United States," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 9(2).
    2. Anderson, Gordon, 2012. "Boats and tides and "trickle down" theories: What economists presume about wellbeing when they employ stochastic process theory in modeling behavior," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-44.
    3. James Hines & Hilary Hoynes & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Another Look at Whether a Rising Tide Lifts All Boats," Working Papers 833, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Dierk Herzer & Rainer Klump, 2010. "Poverty and government transfers in the United States," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(16), pages 1565-1569.
    5. Xin Xu & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 15737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ian Irvine & Kuan Xu, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and Poverty in the United States," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive uspov, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    7. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes, 2016. "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same? The Safety Net and Poverty in the Great Recession," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 403-444.
    8. Xu, Xin, 2013. "The business cycle and health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 126-136.
    9. Hilary W. Hoynes & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2006. "Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 47-68, Winter.
    10. Kuan Xu & Ian Irvine, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and the Measurement of Poverty in the United States, 1979-1997," LIS Working papers 333, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. Jonathan Temple, 2002. "An Assessment of the New Economy," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 02/542, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    12. Kenya L. Covington, 2015. "Poverty Suburbanization: Theoretical Insights and Empirical Analyses," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 3(2), pages 71-90.
    13. Asena Caner & Ed Wolff, 2002. "Asset Poverty in the United States, 1984-1999: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Microeconomics 0209002, EconWPA.
    14. James Hines & Hilary Hoynes & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Another Look at Whether a Rising Tide Lifts All Boats," Working Papers 833, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    15. Luis Ayala & Olga Cantó & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2017. "Poverty and the business cycle: A regional panel data analysis for Spain using alternative measures of unemployment," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 15(1), pages 47-73, March.
    16. Donald G. Freeman, 2003. "Poverty and the Macroeconomy: Estimates from U.S. Regional Data," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 358-371, July.

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