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November 30, 2023

Evaluating the Success of the War on Poverty since 1963 Using an Absolute Full-Income Poverty Measure

Abstract We evaluate progress in the War on Poverty as President Lyndon B. Johnson defined it, which established a 20% baseline poverty rate and adopted an absolute standard. While the official poverty rate fell from 19.5% in 1963 to 10.5% in 2019, our absolute full-income poverty measure—which uses a fuller income measure and updates thresholds…

October 30, 2023

The Effect of Elevating the Supplemental Poverty Measure on Government Program Eligibility and Spending

Abstract A recent National Academy of Sciences report recommends elevating the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to the “nation’s headline poverty statistic.” I project how making the SPM the official poverty measure would affect eligibility for government assistance programs whose eligibility thresholds are tied to the official poverty line. Making the SPM the official poverty measure…

August 23, 2021

Policies to Help the Working Class in the Aftermath of COVID-19: Lessons from the Great Recession

By Richard V. Burkhauser, Kevin C. Corinth, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated government-mandated shutdowns caused a historic shock to the U.S. economy and a disproportionate job loss concentrated among the working class. While an unprecedented social safety net policy response successfully offset earnings losses among lower-wage workers, the risk of…