Measurement of Poverty, Deprivation, and Economic Mobility: Volume 23

Cover of Measurement of Poverty, Deprivation, and Economic Mobility

Table of contents

(18 chapters)
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About the Authors

Pages xiii-xxi
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Introduction

Pages xxi-xxvi
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Abstract

We consider the link between poverty and subjective well-being, and focus in particular on the role of time. We use panel data on 49,000 individuals living in Germany from 1992 to 2012 to uncover three empirical relationships. First, life satisfaction falls with both the incidence and intensity of contemporaneous poverty. Second, poverty scars: those who have been poor in the past report lower life satisfaction today, even when out of poverty. Last, the order of poverty spells matters: for a given number of years in poverty, satisfaction is lower when the years are linked together. As such, poverty persistence reduces well-being. These effects differ by population subgroups.

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The paper analyses the effects of individual and household characteristics on current poverty status, while controlling for initial conditions, past poverty status and unobserved heterogeneity in 14 European countries for the period 1994–2001, using the European Community Household Panel. The distinction between true state dependence and individual heterogeneity has important policy implications, since if the former is the main cause of poverty it may be crucial to break the ‘vicious circle’ of poverty using income-supporting social policies, whereas if it is the latter anti-poverty policies should focus primarily on education, training, development of personal skills and other labour market oriented policies. The empirical results are similar in qualitative terms but rather different in quantitative terms across the EU countries covered in the paper. State dependence remains significant in all model specifications, even after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity or when removing possible endogeneity bias. Higher poverty rates and higher poverty persistence are associated with particular welfare state regimes, although the link is substantially weakened when other explanatory variables are included in the analysis.

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Latin America experienced a long period of sustained growth since 2003 that positively impacted social and labor market indicators, including poverty. This paper contributes to the understanding of this process as it carries out a comparative study of poverty and indigence dynamics in five Latin American countries during 2003–2012. Specifically, it extends the analysis of a previously published study by broadening the time coverage and examining indigence mobility. It analyzes the extent to which countries with different levels of poverty (extreme poverty) incidence diverge in terms of exit and entry rates, and identifies the relative importance of the frequency and impact of events associated with poverty transitions. For this, a dynamic analysis of panel data is carried out using regular household surveys. Sizeable rates of poverty and indigence movements were observed in all five countries and it was found that a large proportion of poor or indigent households experienced positive events, mainly related to the labor market; however, only a small fraction of them actually exited poverty and indigence. It appeared, therefore, that even when the economy behaved reasonably well, high levels of labor turnover and income mobility (even of a negative nature) still prevail, mainly associated with the high level of precariousness and the undeveloped system of social protection that characterize the studied countries.

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Recent evidence on the impact of the crisis on developed countries shows that changes in income inequality and poverty have been relatively small in spite of the macroeconomic heterogeneity of the recession across different economies. However, when evaluating individual perceptions linked to the crisis any changes in the chances to scale up or lose ground in the income ladder are also crucial. Our aim in this paper is to analyze to what extent the recession has had an impact on individual equivalent incomes and, in particular, on the prevalence of downward mobility in two developed countries where job losses have been large. We find that income losses have increased, particularly in Spain, and while age and education are key determinants of the probability of experiencing an income loss in both countries, the presence of children only increases the probability of an income loss in Spain.

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This research explores how skill proficiencies are distributed between low-income and not-in low-income groups using the results of a highly complex survey of the information-processing skills of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65. We find that having measures of skills enhances our understanding of the correlates of low income. Skills have an independent effect, even when controlling for other known correlates of low income, and their inclusion reduces the independent effect of education and immigrant status. This result is relevant for public policy development as the knowledge of the skills profile of the low-income population can inform the design of efficient and effective programmes.

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Immigrant and native child poverty in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden 1993–2001 is studied using large sets of panel data. While native children face yearly poverty risks of less than 10 percent in all three countries and for all years studied the increasing proportion of immigrant children with an origin in middle- and low-income countries have poverty risks that vary from 38 up to as much as 58 percent. At the end of the observation period, one third of the poor children in Norway and as high as about a half in Denmark and in Sweden are of immigrant origin. The strong overrepresentation of immigrant children from low- and middle-income countries when measured in yearly data is also found when applying a longer accounting period for poverty measurement. We find that child poverty rates are generally high shortly after arrival to the new country and typically decrease with years since immigration. Multivariate analysis shows that parents years since immigration and education affect risks of the number of periods in persistent poverty. While a native child is very unlikely to spend nine years in poverty, the corresponding risk for a child to a newly arrived immigrant was found to be far from negligible. Much of the pattern is similar across the three countries but there are also some notable differences.

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In this paper I investigate the nature of the differential in poverty by ethnicity in rural China using data from the Chinese Household Income Project in 2002. For that, I compare observed poverty with that in a counterfactual distribution in which ethnic minorities are given a set of relevant village and household characteristics of the Han majority. In particular, I investigate the importance of the location of minorities in explaining their higher poverty levels. The ethnic poverty differential does not change after equalizing the distribution of the population by geographical region (unless we use a higher poverty line). However, it is reduced after equalizing other locational characteristics of minorities (such as them living in less developed and mountainous areas), their larger number of children, their low education, and their fewer skilled non-agriculture workers. Finally, the ethnic per capita (log) income differential is shown to be higher for higher percentiles, with an increasing role of the geographical region as the main driver of these higher differentials.

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There has been a rapid expansion in the literature on the measurement of multidimensional poverty in recent years. This paper focuses on the longitudinal aspects of multidimensional poverty and its link to dynamic income poverty measurement. Using panel household survey data in Vietnam from 2007, 2008, and 2010, the paper analyses the prevalence and dynamics of both multidimensional and monetary poverty from the same dataset. The results show that the monetary poor (or non-poor) are not always multidimensionally poor (or non-poor) – indeed the overlap between the two measures is much less than 50 percent. Additionally, monetary poverty shows faster progress as well as a higher level of fluctuation than multidimensional poverty. We suggest that rapid economic growth as experienced by Vietnam has had a larger and more immediate impact on monetary than on multidimensional poverty.

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This paper examines several measures of poverty and hardship for the United States to illustrate how a single measure of poverty may identify different groups of people as “in need.” Individuals and families may encounter difficulty meeting needs on many dimensions and there are a variety of measures designed to identify those who experience poverty or difficulty making ends meet. In general, there is agreement that all of the approaches capture different pieces of the puzzle while no single indicator can yield a complete picture. To understand this multidimensional aspect of poverty, several measures are examined in this paper: the official U.S. poverty measure, a relative poverty measure, a new supplemental measure that follows recommendations of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an index of material hardship, a measure of household debt, and responses to a question about inability to meet expenses. This study uses the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and updates a similar analysis that used the 1996 panel of SIPP (Short, 2005). The SIPP is a longitudinal survey that allows us to examine all of these various indicators for the same people over the period from 2009 to 2010. The study uses regression analysis to assess the relationship among several indicators of economic hardship. Results suggest that an understanding of relationships between various indicators can allow only one indicator of poverty alone to be interpreted more appropriately and used more wisely to target the needs of the disadvantaged.

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This paper considers a parametric model for the joint distribution of income and wealth. The model is used to analyze income and wealth inequality in five OECD countries using comparable household-level survey data. We focus on the dependence parameter between the two variables and study whether accounting for wealth and income jointly reveals a different pattern of social inequality than the traditional “income only” approach. We find that cross-country variations in the dependence parameter effectively account only for a small fraction of cross-country differences in a bivariate measure of inequality. The index appears primarily driven by differences in inequality in the wealth distribution.

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Cover of Measurement of Poverty, Deprivation, and Economic Mobility
DOI
10.1108/S1049-2585201523
Publication date
2015-08-26
Book series
Research on Economic Inequality
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78560-386-0
Book series ISSN
1049-2585