Research

2012

To measure poverty, incomes must be made equivalent across households with different structures. In this paper, we use a very flexible ordered response model to analyze the relationship between income, demographic structure, and subjective assessments of financial wellbeing drawn from the 1991-2008 British Household Panel Survey. Our results suggest the existence of large-scale economies within marital/cohabiting couples, but substantial diseconomies from the addition of children or further adults.

Leading up to the passage of the 1996 welfare reform, there was much speculation and debate over the possibility that states would \race to the bottom" in setting welfare generosity if given more control over their individual programs. In the fteen years after welfare reform, did such a race to the bottom ensue? Using a spatial dynamic econometric approach, I investigate welfare competition across multiple policy instruments and across three distinct welfare periods -- the AFDC regime, the experimental waiver period leading up to the reform, and the TANF era.

In 2007, about 3.3 million households in the U.S. (8.3 percent of households with children) had fchildren who lacked consistent access to an adequate food supply, implying less than complete coverage of children by the food-assistance safety net. We use the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) to estimate the effect of food stamp participation on child food security. Our results indicate that food stamps play an important role in protecting the well-being of needy children by improving food security among children in low-income households who are faced with economic shocks.

Rates of food insecurity in households with children have significantly increased over the past decade. The majority of children, including those at risk for food insecurity, participate in some form of non-parental child care during the preschool years. To evaluate the relationship between the two phenomenon, this study investigates the effects of child care arrangements on food insecurity in households with children.

Earnings nonresponse in the Current Population Survey is roughly 30% in the monthly surveys and 20% in the March survey. If nonresponse is ignorable, unbiased estimates can be achieved by omitting nonrespondents. Little is known about whether CPS nonresponse is ignorable. Using sample frame measures to identify selection, we find clear-cut evidence among men but limited evidence among women for negative selection into response.

We provide a detailed accounting of the trend increase in family income volatility in recent decades by quantifying the contributions of household head earnings, spouse earnings, non-transfer non-labor income, transfer income, and tax payments (inclusive of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit), along with covariances among the income components. Using twoyear matched panels in the Current Population Survey from 1980 to 2009, we find that the volatility of family income, as measured by the variance of the arc percent change, doubled over the past three decades.

Using data linked across generations in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I estimate the relationship between exposure to volatile income during childhood and a set of socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood. The empirical framework is an augmented intergenerational income mobility model that includes controls for income volatility. I measure income volatility at the family level in two ways. First, instability as measured by squared deviations around a family-specific mean, and then as percent changes of 25 percent or more.

This study is the first in a series of annual reports on the state of senior hunger in the United States. In the report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity in 2010, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

We examine differences in income within the U.S., and the regions of persistent poverty that have arisen, using a newly assembled dataset of counties that links historical 19th century Census data with contemporaneous data. The data, along with an augmented human capital growth model, permit us to identify the roles of contemporaneous differences in aggregate production technologies and factor endowments, in conjunction with the historical roles of institutions, culture, geography, and human capital.

2011

The proportion of low-income, single mothers not receiving public assistance or participating in the formal employment sector has approximately doubled over the past decade. Many of the currently debated policy options to support these families focus on state level programs. However, little is known about the relationships between state welfare program characteristics and disconnectedness. This project assesses the effect of state welfare rules on the likelihood of being disconnected from these two income sources.