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Defining Poverty and Identifying the Poor: Reflections on the Australian Experience


  • Peter Saunders


This paper provides an overview of the historical development of poverty research in Australia, focusing on the impact of Seebohm Rowntree’s first study of poverty in York, conducted one hundred years ago. It also reviews some of the recent Australian evidence on the extent of poverty and summarises the debates generated by that research. Finally, the paper discusses several developments currently in progress in the area of poverty and living standards research. These include the Adequacy Project being run within the Department of Social Security, the recent SPRC budget standards study, the Project on Poverty in Australia being organised by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the proposed National Living Standards Survey being planned by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Saunders, 1998. "Defining Poverty and Identifying the Poor: Reflections on the Australian Experience," Discussion Papers 0084, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:sprcdp:0084

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
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    3. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
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    6. Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
    7. Richard W. Blundell, 1995. "The Impact of Taxation on Labour Force Participation and Labour Supply," OECD Jobs Study Working Papers 8, OECD Publishing.
    8. Wales, Terence J & Woodland, A D, 1977. "Estimation of the Allocation of Time for Work, Leisure, and Housework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 115-132, January.
    9. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
    10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    11. Soest, Arthur van & Kapteyn, Arie & Kooreman, Peter, 1993. "Coherency and regularity of demand systems with equality and inequality constraints," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 161-188.
    12. Hausman, Jerry A., 1979. "The econometrics of labor supply on convex budget sets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 171-174.
    13. Moffitt, Robert, 1986. "The Econometrics of Piecewise-Linear Budget Constraints: A Survey and Exposition of the Maximum Likelihood Method," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(3), pages 317-328, July.
    14. Paul A. Hagstrom, 1996. "The Food Stamp Participation and Labor Supply of Married Couples: An Empirical Analysis of Joint Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 383-403.
    15. Hausman, Jerry A, 1985. "The Econometrics of Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1255-1282, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Callander, Emily Joy & Schofield, Deborah J. & Shrestha, Rupendra N., 2011. "Multi-dimensional poverty in Australia and the barriers ill health imposes on the employment of the disadvantaged," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 736-742.
    2. Charles Meth, 2004. "Half Measures: The ANC's Unemployment and Poverty Reduction Goals," Working Papers 04089, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.

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