Poverty and Deep Poverty

  • Kathryn Edin
  • Linda Burton
  • David Grusky

Leaders: Linda Burton, Kathryn Edin, David Grusky

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) reveals substantial post-1970 reductions in poverty under a constant (i.e., “anchored”) threshold, but this trend masks worrisome developments at the very bottom of the distribution. Although the overall SPM has trended downward since 1970, the SPM for households with less than half of the anchored threshold level (i.e., “deep poverty”) has remained stable since 1968. Even more worrying, the most extreme forms of poverty, such as living on less than $2 per day (per person), have in fact increased over the last two decades. The main tasks of our Poverty and Deep Poverty RG are to describe trends in poverty and deep poverty, to assess the effectiveness of current anti-poverty programs, and to examine the likely payoff to introducing new anti-poverty programs. We present a sampling of relevant projects below.

Frequent Reporting Project: Why are unemployment statistics reported monthly whereas poverty statistics are reported only once a year (and with such a long lag)? The CPI is hard at work solving this problem.

California Poverty Project: The CPI, in collaboration with the Public Policy Institute of California, issues the California Poverty Measure (CPM) annually. There are plans afoot to make it an even more powerful policy instrument. 

Ending Poverty in California: Is it possible to substantially reduce poverty in California by relying entirely on evidence-based programs? It indeed is.

The National Poverty StudyThe country’s one-size-fits-all poverty policy ignores the seemingly profound differences between suburban poverty, immigrant poverty, reservation poverty, rural white poverty, deindustrializing poverty, and the many other ways in which massive deprivation plays out in the U.S. The National Poverty Study, which will be the country’s first qualitative census of poverty, takes on the problem.

Income supports and deep poverty: The U.S. does not rely heavily on unconditional cash transfers in its poverty programming. Is this a mistake? The CPI is assisting Y Combinator in providing the first U.S. evidence on unconditional income support since the negative income tax experiments of the 1970s.

Disability and deep poverty: The country’s disability programs are an important anti-poverty weapon. In evaluating their effectiveness, it is important to determine whether the low employment rates among program recipients reflects an underlying (low) capacity for employment, as opposed to the labor-supply effects of the programs themselves. Although it’s long been difficult to assess such labor-supply effects, now there’s a way forward.

Evictions and deep and extreme poverty: Are evictions an important cause of deep and extreme poverty? This line of research examines the extent to which deep and extreme poverty can be reduced with a “housing first” policy that ramps up federal housing programs.

Deep poverty and TANF add-ons: The country is implicitly running hundreds of experiments on how best to structure TANF programs, but it hasn’t had the capacity to evaluate them. Are administrative data the answer?

Poverty - CPI Research

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poverty - CPI Affiliates

George Akerlof's picture George Akerlof Daniel E. Koshland, Sr. Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics; 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics
University of California, Berkeley
Walter Korpi's picture Walter Korpi Professor, Swedish Institute for Social Research
Stockholm University
George Farkas's picture George Farkas Professor, School of Education
UC Irvine

Pages

Poverty - Other Research

Title Author Media
The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence Olivier J. Blanchard and Justin Wolfers

The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence

Author: Olivier J. Blanchard and Justin Wolfers
Publisher: The Economic Journal
Date:
Divergent paths: economic mobility in the new American labor market Martina Morris, Mark Stephen Handcock, Marc A....

Divergent paths: economic mobility in the new American labor market

Author: Martina Morris, Mark Stephen Handcock, Marc A....
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Date:
It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty Rebecca M. Blank

It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty

Author: Rebecca M. Blank
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Date:
One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All Mark R. Rank

One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

Author: Mark R. Rank
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date:

Despite its enormous wealth, the United States leads the industrialized world in poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged unravels this disturbing paradox by offering a unique and radically different understanding of American poverty. It debunks many of our most common myths about the poor, while at the same time provides a powerful new framework for addressing this enormous social and economic problem. Mark Robert Rank vividly shows that the fundamental causes of poverty are to be found in our economic structure and political policy failures, rather than individual shortcomings or attitudes. He establishes for the first time that a significant percentage of Americans will experience poverty during their adult lifetimes, and firmly demonstrates that poverty is an issue of vital national concern. Ultimately, Rank provides us with a new paradigm for understanding poverty, and outlines an innovative set of strategies that will reduce American poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged represents a profound starting point for rekindling a national focus upon America's most vexing social and economic problem.

The Working Poor: Invisible in America David K. Shipler

The Working Poor: Invisible in America

Author: David K. Shipler
Publisher: Vintage Books
Date:

Poverty - Multimedia

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