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Chapter 31 Income Distribution and Poverty 31-1 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 31 Income Distribution and Poverty 31-1 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 31 Income Distribution and Poverty 31-1 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Chapter Objectives How unequal is income distribution in the United States? What determines how income is distributed? How does the distribution of income differ from the distribution of wealth? How is poverty defined? 31-2 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

3 Chapter Objectives Who are the poor? What are the main government transfer payments for the poor? What are the causes of poverty? What are the solutions? 31-3 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

4 Some Quotations The forces of a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. - Jawaharial Nehru Ive been rich and Ive been poor; rich is better. - Sophie Tucker 31-4 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Income Distribution in the United States How unequal is income distribution in the United States? –How unequal are the incomes of The poor and the rich? The blacks and whites? The males and females? 31-5 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

6 The Lorenz Curve A Lorenz curve shows the cumulative share of income earned by each quintile of households –A quintile is one-fifth (1/5) just like a quarter is one-fourth (1/4) –One-fifth is also 20% 31-6 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

7 The Lorenz Curve Is it accurate to say that 20% of our population is poor, 60% is middle class, and 20% is rich? Maybe not –Social scientist cant agree about where to draw the dividing lines between the poor and the middle class and between the middle class and the rich 31-7 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

8 U.S. Household Income, by Quintile, 1999 Lowest quintile $0 -16,799 Second quintile 16,800-30,828 Third quintile 30,829-49,015 Fourth quintile 49,016-76,009 Fifth quintile 76,010 and up 31-8 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

9 Hypothetical Lorenz Curve 31-9 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. How much does the lowest quintile (1/5) receive? 5 %

10 Hypothetical Lorenz Curve Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. How much does the second quintile (1/5) receive? 12.5 % Not the answer! The answer is 12.5% - 5% = 7.5% 5

11 Hypothetical Lorenz Curve Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. How much does the third quintile (1/5) receive? 25.0 Not the answer! The answer is 25.0% -( 5% + 7.5% ) = 12.5%

12 Hypothetical Lorenz Curve Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. How much does the fourth quintile (1/5) receive? 40.0 Not the answer! The answer is 40.0% -( 5% + 7.5% ) = 15%

13 Hypothetical Lorenz Curve Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. How much does the fifth quintile (1/5) receive? This one is easy The answer is 100.0% -( 5% + 7.5% %) = 60%

14 31-14 Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Income Distribution in the United States, 1999 Percentage of Total Income before Taxes Received by Each Fifth of American Families, Income Rank Lowest fifth 4.8% 3.7% Second fifth 12.2% 9.0% Third fifth 17.8% 15.1% Fourth fifth 24.0% 23.3% Highest fifth 41.3% 49.0%

15 Income Distribution Getting More Uneven Income tax rates on capital gains were cut –This helped the so-called rich Payroll taxes were raised –Thus hurt the lower income workers –About 75% of all Americans pay more in payroll taxes than in personal income tax From the average hourly wage fell by more than 10% Relatively high paying manufacturing jobs are being replaced with relatively low paying service sector jobs Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

16 Distribution of Wealth in the United States In 1976 the top 1% of our population held about 20% of the nations household wealth By 2000 the top 1% held 40% of the nations household wealth The top 5% of all households own 77% of equity holdings The bottom 80% own only 1.8% Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

17 Equity and Efficiency Income distribution affects our economic efficiency Two things make our economy work, the carrot and the stick –The carrot is all the money you can make by working hard –The stick is if you dont work, you dont eat Complete income equality would take away our productive incentives Great income equality means a great deal of human misery, because many of the poor would not even be able to afford the bare necessities of life Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

18 Income Distribution Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Whatever the means of income redistribution, the ends are always the same –The ends are to take from the rich and give to the poor Most people probably agree that the rich and middle class should give some of their money to the poor However two questions must be answered –Who are the rich and middle class? –How much do we take from them?

19 What Determines Income Distribution? Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Some positive determinants are training, education, intelligence, inborn skills, physical attributes, luck, and who you know Some negative determinants are job discrimination, luck, and who you dont know Two-thirds of all personal income is earned in wages and salaries Property income accounts for almost one- quarter of personal income Government transfer payments account for the rest

20 Differences in Wages and Salaries Why do some people earn more than others? –Why do doctors make more than word processors? –Why do professional athletes make more than cashiers? The answer is supply and demand –People in certain occupations are in short supply relative to the demand for these occupations Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

21 Differences in Wages and Salaries How important is education? –We know that college graduates earn more than high school graduates The average college graduate will earn three times as much as someone who has not completed the eighth grade –Today we know that you need to be able to read, write, do arithmetic, think, solve problems and be computer literate Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

22 Differences in Wages and Salaries Why Does a College Graduate Earn More? –The college graduate is probably smarter, richer, and more motivated –The college graduate probably has better connections –The college graduate probably comes from a home with a more supportive learning environment Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

23 Differences in Wages and Salaries How Important is Talent? –Michael Jackson earns $60 million a year –Oprah Winfrey brings in $150 million a year –People with good communication skills and who are extroverted usually do best in most jobs Yet, talent usually is not a deciding factor in how much people earn –New employees tend to be hired at the same starting salary They tend to advance lockstep from one pay level to the next –The most important factor in determining pay level seems to be seniority for most Americans Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

24 Differences in Wages and Salaries Discrimination –Discrimination still exist in spite of the gains made in equal economic opportunity 1960s women made 60% of what men earn 1973 women made 63% of what men earn 1996 women made 74% of what men earn 2000 women make almost 80% of what men earn The average college-educated woman still earns less than the average high school-educated man Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

25 Differences in Wages and Salaries Discrimination –Discrimination still exist in spite of the gains made in equal economic opportunity Blacks earn about 60% of what whites earn The past forty years the unemployment rate for blacks has consistently been double that for whites In past recessions the unemployment for rate for black teenagers rose above 50% Hispanics have suffered almost as much as blacks in employment discrimination since WW II Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

26 Property Income Wages and salaries accounted for 62% of personal income in 1997 Property income accounted for 26% –Most property income goes to the rich in the form of rent, interest, dividends, capital gains, and profits –Less than 10% of the middle class have property income –The two largest sources of wealth, exclusive of inheritance, are the stock market and starting up new companies Government transfer payments accounted for 12% Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

27 Social security benefits constitute more than two-thirds of all federal transfer payments –Social security benefits are not aimed specifically at the poor –Social security benefits keeps many people above the poverty line –Social Security benefits are the main support of many retirees Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Government Transfer Payments

28 Unemployment benefits –Unemployment benefits are the sole means of support for most people collecting them –Unemployment benefits go to less than half of the unemployed, primarily to lower income groups Medicare helps the elderly regardless of income level Public assistance and food stamp programs targets lower income groups Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Government Transfer Payments

29 Almost all agree that some income redistribution is needed The hard questions are –How much income redistribution is needed? –To whom should it be redistributed? We all probably want to see a more equitable and efficient society, but we are far from reaching a consensus on how this can be attained Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Income Redistribution

30 Upward Mobility: Europe versus the United States Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Percentage share of poor who left poverty within a year in the 1980s

31 Dimensions of the poverty problem Some of the causes of poverty How we are dealing with poverty Some possible remedies for poverty Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Poverty in America

32 The relative concept of poverty The absolute concept of poverty Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Poverty Defined

33 By defining the poor as the lowest income quintile, we set up poverty as a relative concept –There are two basic problems with this concept –If everyones income quadrupled, we would still be calling the bottom 20% poor, even though they would be living better than the entire middle class previously –The lowest American quintile is infinitely better off than average citizens of the worlds poorest nations The question remains Relative to what? Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Relative Concept of Poverty

34 There are two basic problems with the absolute concept of poverty –Who gets to determine the dividing line between the poor and not so poor? –How is that determination reached? –One approach is to set up a minimum basic standard of living and figure out how much it cost to maintain that standard from year to year Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Absolute Concept of Poverty

35 Calculated annually by the U. S. Department of Agriculture –In 1999 this line was set at $17,029 for a family of four –Can a family of four live on this? It depends on what you mean by live It depends on where you live None of the nations thousands of locally administered welfare programs brings any of the poor up to the poverty line Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Official Poverty Line

36 U.S. Poverty Rate: Percentage of Individuals Below the Poverty Line, Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

37 Who Are the Poor? People older than 65 used to have higher poverty rates than the general population The advent of Medicare, higher social security benefits and SSI have reduced the poverty rates for older Americans to well below the overall rate for the general population Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

38 Who Are the Poor? Most Poor People Are White 1996 white population was 225,440,005 –Multiply this by 9% (poverty rate for whites) = 20,289,600 whites below the poverty line 1996 black population was 33,518,658 –Multiply this by 30% (poverty rate for blacks) = 10,055,597 blacks below the poverty line Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

39 Who Are the Poor? It is obvious that a disproportionate number of poor are blacks and other minorities –One out 4 blacks are poor, but blacks are only 13% of the population –The poverty rate for the American Indian is 47.3% The bottom line is that poverty is not just a problem for minorities but a problem for all Americans Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

40 Who Are the Poor? Most poor people live outside the cities They live in the suburbs, small towns, and rural areas While it is true that the majority of the poor are white residents of the suburbs, small towns, and rural areas, a disproportionate number of the poor are urban Blacks and Hispanics If you want to be poor, you can increase your chances substantially by being Black or Hispanic and living in a large city Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

41 Poverty Rates by Race, Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

42 Who Are the Poor? Three-fourths of the poor are single mothers and their children People living in the rural south and the Appalachian regions Migrant farm workers, native Americans, and recent immigrants People who once held jobs in declining industries (steel, autos, rubber, oil, mining, farming, etc) Inner city residents Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

43 Poverty Rates of Selected Population Groups, by Race, Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

44 Children Living in Relative Poverty, Selected Countries, Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

45 The Working Poor All the people employed at or just above the minimum wage could be considered the working poor –Most of them receive little or no government benefits Even if they dont get one cent from the government, they are still a part of the poverty problem Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

46 Remember the unemployment rate does not count these people –They number in the millions –If they were fully accounted for, the total number of unemployed would increase by 3 to 4 million people Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Long-Term Unemployed and Discouraged Workers

47 There have always been homeless people There are now probably between two and three million homeless –There is much disagreement how many homeless people there really are –If we include individuals who are temporarily staying with family and friends this estimate is probably in the ball park Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Homeless

48 Four trends have made this problem much worse –Entry level factory jobs are declining in large cities –The availability of affordable housing (basically furnished rooms) has almost disappeared –There is ongoing gentrification in most cities –There has been a deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill without the promised halfway houses to treat and shelter them Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Homeless Problem

49 The U.S Department of Health and Human Services estimates that one-third of the homeless are mentally ill and that one-half are alcoholics or drug addicts Not all of the homeless are poor –There are people earning more than $50,000 who live in shelters or in their cars in Santa Clara County, California –The problem is being trapped between jobs that pay too little and housing that cost too much Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Homeless Problem

50 The Social Security Act of 1935 set up three major programs –Social Security –Unemployment insurance Social security and unemployment insurance are both financed by taxes paid by employers and workers –Pubic assistance Public assistance was intended to help families experiencing temporary economic distress Public assistance instead has engendered a permanent dependence in millions of families Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Main Government Transfer Programs

51 Medicare and Medicaid –Medicare is a supplement to social security that provides retirees with low cost medical care –Medicaid provides free medical care to the poor (usually nonworking) –About 45 million working poor have no health insurance They have jobs without health insurance They are too young for Medicare They are too well off to receive help from Medicaid Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Main Government Transfer Programs

52 The past four decades have produced second, third, and fourth-generation welfare families Teenage girls get pregnant and have babies –They go on welfare, they do not marry, they have no hope of becoming self-sufficient, and their kids repeat the cycle These young mothers are provided with surrogate husbands in the form of a welfare check –Some states are now restricting this eligibility Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Welfare Culture

53 Im sorry that I got myself into this and my children into this. And I dont know how to get them out of it. If I dont get them away from here, theyre going to end up dead, in jail, or like me Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Words of a Welfare Mother

54 Poor are Lazy Heritage of Slavery Employment Discrimination Black Male Joblessness Poverty Breeds Poverty Inadequate Human Capital Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Theories of the Causes of Poverty

55 The theory was popular through the 19th century up to the time of the Depression The belief was that prosperity was associated with being one of Gods chosen people –If you were rich or well off, you obviously were going to heaven –If you were poor, you obviously were not going to heaven This theory went down the tubes with the Great Depression Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Poor are Lazy

56 Blacks were brought here in chains and held back for three centuries by slavery and a feudal sharecropping system in the south Blacks were systematically excluded from all but the most menial jobs and were denied educational opportunities open to almost all other Americans Mortgage loans, restaurant meals, hotel and motel lodging, and union membership were routinely denied This didnt start changing until the 1960s Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Heritage of Slavery

57 Employment discrimination has been especially strong in holding down the incomes of Women, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities Education, training, and experience also contribute to these wage differentials Social scientists generally believe that about half of these wage differentials result from discrimination and the rest from other factors Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Employment Discrimination

58 In 1970, 33% of black families were headed by women. In the 1990s this number was over 60% The growing number of a permanent welfare population of single black mothers has raised the question of where the young black males who got them pregnant are –Four-fifths of white males aged 20 to 44 have jobs –One-half of black males aged 20 to 44 have jobs Some are officially unemployed Some are discouraged workers Some may be working in the underground economy either legally or illegally The loss of blue collar jobs has hurt young black men the most Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Black Male Joblessness

59 Before birth an infant may suffer from poor prenatal care and may be addicted to drugs In early childhood children in poverty may get inadequate nutrition and medical and dental care Children in poverty may grow up in an unsafe, even violent environment Children in poverty may experience emotional deprivation and grow up in a broken home The bottom line is that all of the above can be serious handicaps to overcome Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Poverty Breeds Poverty

60 Human capital is defined as the acquired skills of individuals, along with their education, training, and work habits –People who grow up poor usually have poor home learning environments, attend the worst schools, drop out before graduation, acquire little useful work experience, do not develop good work habits, and have poor communication skills In short, these people are virtually unemployable in todays economy Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Inadequate Human Capital

61 The poverty theory debate –Both agree on the ends - getting people off welfare and into self- supporting jobs –They disagree on the means - how to do it Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Conservative View versus the Liberal View

62 Conservatives advocate the stick approach - you dont work you dont eat Most conservatives believe that the social programs of the 60s and 70s not only didnt work but caused more poverty by destroying peoples incentive to work Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Conservative View

63 The carrot approach - training and jobs Had there been no 60s and 70s social programs there would have been even more poverty than we have now These programs prevented a bad situation from getting worse –During times of rising unemployment, especially among black males, it is a victory just to keep the poverty rate from rising Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Liberal View

64 Minimize employment discrimination Provide the poor with better education and training Provide the poor with millions of government jobs Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Liberal Solution

65 Provide the poor with jobs mainly through the private sector Cut the poor off from public assistance –This would leave them with no recourse except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Conservative Solution

66 Workfare is a combination of work and welfare Workfare is a compromise between liberals and conservatives The workfare concept has widespread support Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Workfare

67 –The federal guarantee of cash assistance to the poor is ended –The head of every welfare family would have to work within two years or the family would lose benefits –After receiving welfare for two months adults must find jobs or perform community service –Lifetime welfare benefits would be limited to 5 years (Hardship exemptions would be available to 20% of families) –Each state receives a lump sum to run its own programs –Future legal immigrants barred from welfare assistance –$24 billion cut from the food stamp program –Up to 20% of those on public assistance – the ones who are least employable - will be allowed to remain on the rolls beyond the time limit Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

68 Experts estimate that at least 2 million families have become long-term, repeat users of public assistance 64% of the women who join the welfare rolls leave within two years –But 75% of them return to welfare Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Conclusion

69 The economic boom of the 90s enabled perhaps half of those leaving the welfare roles to find employment –But the boom cannot go on indefinitely –What will happen to the millions of former welfare recipients most of whom have minimal job skills and training when the unemployment rate begins to rise? Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Conclusion

70 The federal government needs to do for the poor what it did for the working and middle class during the Great Depression –We need a full-scale jobs project patterned after the WPA (Works Progress Administration)–which provided productive jobs for millions of Americans People can, for example, be put to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Conclusion

71 Since the overwhelming majority of adults who have been receiving public assistance or are still on the rolls are single mothers with young children, there is a tremendous need for child care –It appears that the provision of free or low- cost child care would significantly lower the poverty rate Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Conclusion


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