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Consumption-based poverty and inequality in the United States

Опубликовано на портале: 19-05-2004
Feijun Luo
Научный руководитель: John P. Formby
Организация: University of Alabama
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Социально-экономическая дифференциация. Бедность, Социальная стратификация

This dissertation evaluates consumption-based poverty and inequality in the United States using Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) data for the period 1984-1998. Slesnicks's poverty and inequality analysis (1993, 1994) is replicated, amplified and extended into the late 1990s. The poverty and inequality measures rest upon micro-theoretic foundations of utility maximizing behavior and demand. Two parallel theoretical and empirical frameworks are used. The Translog model (Christensen, Jorgenson, and Lau, 1975) with expenditure-independent equivalence scales is used to replicate and extend Slesnick's work. The more general Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (Banks, Blundell, and Lewbel, 1997) with the expenditure-dependent equivalence scales is also analyzed. In the poverty analysis a consumption-based Sen index (Sen, 1976) is introduced, which provides a more comprehensive insight into poverty than does the headcount ratio. The robustness of Slesnick's results is tested under alternative assumptions. To simplify the handling of microdata and to facilitate ease of replication, the SBLS procedure is introduced and applied to measure consumption-based poverty and inequality. This method integrates Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) subgroup expenditure and broad sector price data into Slesnick's estimation framework. The inequality research involves four measures: welfare loss, money-metric loss, Lorenz curves, and Gini coefficients. The first two measures are normative and require measures of the social welfare function, while the latter two are widely used positive measures. Consumption-based Gini coefficients and Lorenz ordinates are compared to the more widely used income-based measures of inequality.

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