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1 Poverty and the Income Distribution Wendy A. Stock, Ph.D. Professor and Department Head Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Poverty and the Income Distribution Wendy A. Stock, Ph.D. Professor and Department Head Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Poverty and the Income Distribution Wendy A. Stock, Ph.D. Professor and Department Head Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

2 2 Income Distribution Questions How much $$ does it take to be “rich” in the U.S.? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/2 of households in earnings? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/5 of households in earnings?

3 3 Income Distribution Questions How equally do we share our earnings? Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

4 4 Poverty Questions What does it mean to be “living in poverty”? Is poverty worse now than it was years ago? Why are some people and countries poor and others not?

5 5 Income Distribution Income Distribution shows the levels of income in an economy and the percentage of households earning those income levels.

6 6 Income Distribution Questions How much $$ does it take to be “rich” in the U.S.? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/2 of households in earnings? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/5 of households in earnings?

7 7 US Median Household Income Values are adjusted for inflation to reflect 2008 dollars

8 8 Income Distribution Questions How much $$ does it take to be “rich” in the U.S.? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/2 of households in earnings? How much $$ does it take to be in the top 1/5 of households in earnings?

9 9 Median U.S. Household Income by Quintile, 2012

10 10 Income Distribution Questions How equally do we share our earnings? Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

11 11 U.S. Household Annual Income by Quintile Numbers in parentheses show average household incomes for each quintile

12 12 How Equally do We Share our Wealth? Source: Michael Norton and Dan Ariely, "Building a Better America - One Wealth Quintile At A Time"

13 13 How is income distributed in other countries?

14 14

15 15 How is world income shared across countries?

16 16 Global Income Distribution

17 17 Global Income Distribution

18 18 Income Distribution Questions How equally do we share our earnings? Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

19 19 Are the Rich getting Richer? U.S. Household Annual Income by Quintile

20 20 Are Rich Countries Getting Richer?

21 21 Poverty

22 22 Poverty Questions What does it mean to be “living in poverty”? Is poverty worse now than it was years ago? Why are some people and countries poor and others not?

23 23 Poverty Threshold or Poverty Line U.S. poverty line 2012 single householder: $11,170 family of four: $23,050 specific level of income, below which a person is in poverty - varies by time, place, and family size Would that provide a comfortable lifestyle?

24 24 % living below the poverty threshold Poverty Rate

25 25 What about world poverty?

26 26 Source: From UN Human Development Statistics, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 licensehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Percentage_population_living_on_less_than_1_dollar_day_ png Percentage of Population Living on Less Than $1.25 Per Day,

27 27 Poverty Questions What does it mean to be “living in poverty”? Is poverty worse now than it was years ago? Why are some people or countries poor and others not?

28 28 Causes of Individual Poverty Individual-level –Demographics –Skills, motivation, intelligence –Restricted opportunities educational quality, discrimination, health status

29 29 Group Poverty Rate Group Poverty Rate All people15.0Education All families13.1 Less than high school 24.9 Married couples 5.8 High school diploma 22.6 Female householder families, no husband 31.6 Some college 15.5 Male householder families, no wife 15.8 Four year degree or more 6.5 Age Race & Ethnicity Under White, non-Hispanic 9.8 Age Black, non-Hispanic 27.6 Age Asian 12.3 Hispanic 25.3 Disabled28.8Nondisabled12.5 U.S. Poverty Rates by Demographic Characteristics, 2011

30 30 Causes of Individual Poverty Structural or Macro-level –Recessions –Resource availability clean water, land, rainfall, animal health, roads, conflict

31 31 Causes of Country Poverty & Economic Growth Proximate CausesFundamental Causes 1.Physical Capital 2. Human Capital 3. Technology 1.Geography climate, soil quality 2.Culture Slow v. rapid change in religious beliefs, nationalistic ideas, etc. 3.Institutions rule of law, property rights Source: Daron Acemoglu, MIT, “Why Nations Fail”

32 32 How do we combat poverty?

33 33 U.S. Poverty Policy Many Approaches –Direct payments –Food, health, and housing –Training and education –Tax policy (EITC) –Regulation (Minimum Wage)

34 34 Global Poverty Policy UN Millennium Development Goals: –Combat global poverty –Combat global disease (AIDS, TB, Malaria) –Increase educational attainment –Improve women’s status –Promote environmental sustainability

35 35 Is poverty policy effective?

36 36 Poverty Policy Effectiveness?

37 37 Percentage of people living on less than $1.25/day, 1990, 1999, 2005 Poverty Policy Effectiveness?

38 38 Discussion Questions What are the costs and benefits of having an unequal income distribution? What are the tradeoffs associated with providing income support to the poor?

39 39 Discussion Questions Suppose that a direct payment anti-poverty program provides a base payment of $10,000 per year to poor families. At the same time, however, the value of the base payment is reduced by $1.00 for every $1.00 of income the family earns. How would such a program affect a household’s incentive to work? Would the effect on work incentives be different if the base payment were reduced by only $0.50 for each dollar of income earned?

40 40 Other Sources for Discussion The PBS program, “The New Heroes” highlights social entrepreneurs, including those focused on problems of global poverty and disease. Ehrenreich, Barbara (2001) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company describes the author’s experience with living on the minimum wage for one year

41 41 Poverty and the Income Distribution Wendy A. Stock, Ph.D. Professor and Department Head Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics


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