Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago
1307 E 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2019||The Use and Misuse of Income Data and Extreme Poverty in the United States|
with Bruce D. Meyer, Victoria R. Mooers, Carla Medalia: w25907
Recent research suggests that rates of extreme poverty, commonly defined as living on less than $2/person/day, are high and rising in the United States. We re-examine the rate of extreme poverty by linking 2011 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and Current Population Survey, the sources of recent extreme poverty estimates, to administrative tax and program data. Of the 3.6 million non-homeless households with survey-reported cash income below $2/person/day, we find that more than 90% are not in extreme poverty once we include in-kind transfers, replace survey reports of earnings and transfer receipt with administrative records, and account for the ownership of substantial assets. More than half of all misclassified households have incomes from the administrative data...
|May 2018||The Poverty Reduction of Social Security and Means-Tested Transfers|
with Bruce D. Meyer: w24567
Many studies examine the anti-poverty effects of social insurance and means-tested transfers, relying solely on survey data with substantial errors. We improve on past work by linking administrative data from Social Security and five large means-tested transfers (SSI, SNAP, Public Assistance, the EITC, and housing assistance) to 2008-2013 Survey of Income and Program Participation data. Using the linked data, we find that Social Security cuts the poverty rate by a third – more than twice the combined effect of the five means-tested transfers. Among means-tested transfers, the EITC and SNAP are most effective. All programs except for the EITC sharply reduce deep poverty (below 50% of the poverty line), while the impact of the EITC is more pronounced at 150% of the poverty line. For the elde...
Published: Bruce D. Meyer & Derek Wu, 2018. "The Poverty Reduction of Social Security and Means-Tested Transfers," ILR Review, vol 71(5), pages 1106-1153.