Counting the Poor: New Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States

Hardcover | June 15, 2012

EditorDouglas J. Besharov, Kenneth A. Couch

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The poverty rate is one of the most visible ways in which nations measure the economic well-being of their low-income citizens. To gauge whether a person is poor, European states often focus on a person's relative position in the income distribution to measure poverty while the United Stateslooks at a fixed-income threshold that represents a lower relative standing in the overall distribution to gauge. In Europe, low income is perceived as only one aspect of being socially excluded, so that examining other relative dimensions of family and individual welfare is important. This broademphasis on relative measures of well-being that extend into non-pecuniary aspects of people's lives does not always imply that more people would ultimately be counted as poor. This is particularly true if one must be considered poor in multiple dimensions to be considered poor, in sharp contrast tothe American emphasis on income as the sole dimension.With contributions from the world's foremost authorities on income and social measurement, the book provides detailed discussions of specific issues from a European perspective followed by commentary from American observers. The volume considers (1) current standards of poverty measurement in theEuropean Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, (2) challenges in extending those measures to account for the value of the provision of in-kind and cash benefits from the government, (3) the interaction of poverty measures with social assistance, (4) non-income butmonetary measures of poverty, and (5) multi-dimensional measures of poverty. The result is a definitive reference for poverty researchers and policymakers seeking to disengage politics from measurement.

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The poverty rate is one of the most visible ways in which nations measure the economic well-being of their low-income citizens. To gauge whether a person is poor, European states often focus on a person's relative position in the income distribution to measure poverty while the United Stateslooks at a fixed-income threshold that repres...

Douglas J. Besharov, PhD, is Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Kenneth A. Couch, PhD, is Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:440 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199860580

ISBN - 13:9780199860586

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I. European Measures of Income, Poverty, and InequalityDouglas J. Besharov and Kenneth A. Couch: 2. Michael F. Forster and Marco Mira d'Ercole: The OECD Approach to Measuring Income Distribution and Poverty3. Isabelle Maquet and David Stanton: Income Indicators for the EU's Social Inclusion Strategy4. Richard V. Burkhauser: Deconstructing European Poverty MeasuresPart II. Broadening Measures of Income and Other Financial Resources5. Holly Sutherland and Panos Tsakloglou: Accounting for the Distributional Effects of Non-cash Public Benefits6. Joachim R. Frick and Markus M. Grabka: Accounting for Imputed and Capital Income Flows7. Neil Gilbert: Accounting for Employee Benefits8. David S. Johnson: Impressionistic Realism: A European Focus on U.S. Poverty MeasurementPart III. Income Levels for Social Assistance and their Behavioral Effects9. Herwig Immervoll: Minimum-Income Benefits in OECD Countries10. Margaret Grosh, Carlo del Ninno, and Emil Tesliuc: Social Assistance Schemes in Developing Countries11. Richard Bavier: Europe's Other Poverty Measures: Absolute Thresholds Underlying Social AssistancePart IV. Non-Income Monetary Measures12. Andrea Brandolini, Silvia Magri, and Timothy M. Smeeding: Asset-Based Measurement of Poverty13. Peter Lanjouw: Consumption-Based Measures in Developing Nations: Lessons from Brazil14. Kenneth A. Couch: Alternatives to Income-Based Measures of PovertyPart V. Multi-Dimensional Measures15. Eric Marlier, Bea Cantillon, Brian Nolan, Karel Van den Bosch, and Tim Van Rie: Developing and Learning from EU Measures of Social Inclusion16. Brian Nolan and Christopher T. Whelan: Using Non-Monetary Deprivation Indicators to Analyze European Poverty and Social Exclusion17. Bruce Headey, Peter Krause, and Gert G. Wagner: Poverty Redefined as Low Consumption and Low Wealth, Not Just Low Income: Psychological Consequences in Australia and Germany18. Neil Gilbert: Anomalies in European Measures of Poverty and Social ExclusionPart VI. Conclusion19. Timothy M. Smeeding: New Comparative Measures of Income, Material Deprivation, and Well-Being