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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Denk, Oliver; Hagemann, Robert P.; Lenain, Patrick; Somma, Valentin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades. These developments have been associated with a number of other worrying statistics, including low intergenerational social mobility and weak real income growth for many households. A more inclusive pattern of growth would require less pronounced gaps in outcomes and opportunities across social groups and a broader sharing of the benefits of growth. The present paper analyses the causes of US income inequality and relative poverty in an OECD context, especially the role of the tax-and-transfer system, and suggests public policies to promote inclusive growth. To a significant degree, high income inequality is attributable to the large dispersion of earned income, which should be addressed by reforming education, so as to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential. In addition, taxes and transfers contribute less to income redistribution than in other OECD countries. If well designed, reforms...

    Income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades. These developments have been associated with a number of other worrying statistics, including low intergenerational social mobility and weak real income growth for many households. A more inclusive pattern of growth would require less pronounced gaps in outcomes and opportunities across social groups and a broader sharing of the benefits of growth. The present paper analyses the causes of US income inequality and relative poverty in an OECD context, especially the role of the tax-and-transfer system, and suggests public policies to promote inclusive growth. To a significant degree, high income inequality is attributable to the large dispersion of earned income, which should be addressed by reforming education, so as to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential. In addition, taxes and transfers contribute less to income redistribution than in other OECD countries. If well designed, reforms that promote inclusive growth could also help reduce the market distortions resulting from the current tax-and-transfer system. In particular, phasing out personal and corporate tax expenditures that disproportionately benefit high earners would lower income inequality and improve resource allocation. As well, social transfers could be more effective in alleviating poverty through better targeting of the truly needy while reducing administrative complexity. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Waldfogel, Jane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    Last year Timothy Smeeding and Jane Waldfogel published an article in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management that showed how child poverty trends in the United States and United Kingdom had diverged over the past decade, during which the United Kingdom pursued an ambitious war on child poverty. Now there are new data for the two countries, which reveal that the differences are even starker than before. This Fast Focus brief is designed to update their findings in the context of the ongoing recession as well as the change in government in the United Kingdom and subsequent ongoing changes in public policy toward poor children. Ten years into the U.K. initiative to halve child poverty in 10 years, if poverty is measured in absolute terms as we do in the U.S., they have more than achieved their interim goal, because of both fiscal effort and persistence, as Jane Waldfogel documents in her book Britain’s War on Poverty (published by Russell Sage Foundation in 2010). The authors assert that a more concerted national effort will be needed if the United...

    Last year Timothy Smeeding and Jane Waldfogel published an article in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management that showed how child poverty trends in the United States and United Kingdom had diverged over the past decade, during which the United Kingdom pursued an ambitious war on child poverty. Now there are new data for the two countries, which reveal that the differences are even starker than before. This Fast Focus brief is designed to update their findings in the context of the ongoing recession as well as the change in government in the United Kingdom and subsequent ongoing changes in public policy toward poor children. Ten years into the U.K. initiative to halve child poverty in 10 years, if poverty is measured in absolute terms as we do in the U.S., they have more than achieved their interim goal, because of both fiscal effort and persistence, as Jane Waldfogel documents in her book Britain’s War on Poverty (published by Russell Sage Foundation in 2010). The authors assert that a more concerted national effort will be needed if the United States is to achieve anything like the successes of the United Kingdom in reducing its high child poverty rates. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Robson, Karen; Wing, Coady; Gershuny, Jonathan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    The Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) and the databases underlying the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) allow estimates of the extent to which immigrant and nonimmigrant children are poor across a wide range of rich nations. These data also allow estimates of the effects of social transfers that reduce poverty amongst all families with children. For all of the fourteen countries in the combined sample, children in migrant families have greater market-income poverty rates and greater disposable income poverty rates than do children in native-born families by a factor of about 2 to 1. Still, safety nets are important for all such families. For instance, before transfers, more than half of children in migrant families in France and Sweden are in poverty; however, after transfers, these rates are more than halved in these nations for both migrant and native-born children. In contrast, in the United States (US) the antipoverty effect of social transfers for both native and migrant families is negligible, because net transfers overall are insignificant in...

    The Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) and the databases underlying the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) allow estimates of the extent to which immigrant and nonimmigrant children are poor across a wide range of rich nations. These data also allow estimates of the effects of social transfers that reduce poverty amongst all families with children. For all of the fourteen countries in the combined sample, children in migrant families have greater market-income poverty rates and greater disposable income poverty rates than do children in native-born families by a factor of about 2 to 1. Still, safety nets are important for all such families. For instance, before transfers, more than half of children in migrant families in France and Sweden are in poverty; however, after transfers, these rates are more than halved in these nations for both migrant and native-born children. In contrast, in the United States (US) the antipoverty effect of social transfers for both native and migrant families is negligible, because net transfers overall are insignificant in comparison with other rich countries. Thus the differences in benefits across countries, for both migrants and natives, are greater than are the differences within countries for these same groups. If the United States is to do better in fighting child poverty and realizing the economic and social potential of all of its children, it needs to expand its efforts on behalf of both immigrant and native children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gangl, Markus
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    According to conventional inequality measures based on cross-sectional data, the United States has over the last 30 years exhibited not only the highest level of income inequality among industrialized nations, but also the fastest growth in the level of income inequality. Many European nations have also experienced acceleration in the growth of income inequality over the same period, but theirs has been less dramatic.

    Inequality measures based on cross-sectional data may, however, overstate national differences in inequality by ignoring the economic mobility of individuals over time. This article addresses that shortcoming by using longitudinal data. The results confirm that the United States has the highest income inequality, and find no systematic cross-national differences in economic mobility. The analysis also sheds some light on why there is relatively little economic mobility in the United States.

    According to conventional inequality measures based on cross-sectional data, the United States has over the last 30 years exhibited not only the highest level of income inequality among industrialized nations, but also the fastest growth in the level of income inequality. Many European nations have also experienced acceleration in the growth of income inequality over the same period, but theirs has been less dramatic.

    Inequality measures based on cross-sectional data may, however, overstate national differences in inequality by ignoring the economic mobility of individuals over time. This article addresses that shortcoming by using longitudinal data. The results confirm that the United States has the highest income inequality, and find no systematic cross-national differences in economic mobility. The analysis also sheds some light on why there is relatively little economic mobility in the United States.

  • Individual Author: Burtless, Gary
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    This essay considers what we have learned from cross-national analyses of the sources of poverty, and it describes what these analyses can still teach us about the both the effects of public redistribution policies on the distribution of income and their impact on economic and social behaviors. (author abstract)

    This essay considers what we have learned from cross-national analyses of the sources of poverty, and it describes what these analyses can still teach us about the both the effects of public redistribution policies on the distribution of income and their impact on economic and social behaviors. (author abstract)