HAS MACROECONOMIC PERFORMANCE REGAINED ITS ANTIPOVERTY BITE?
From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, several important studies examined the statistical relationship between the U.S. official poverty rate and overall economic performance. Most of these studies focused on the apparent break in this relationship beginning in the late 1970s or early 1980s. In this article, we present the results of our study of the relationship between macroeconomic performance and the poverty rate, using annual time-series data on macroeconomic variables, such as the unemployment rate and per-capita GDP growth from 1959 through 1998. Like these earlier studies, we also find that economic performance had a smaller antipoverty effect during the 1970s and 1980s than it did in earlier years. However, our estimates suggest that the weakened economic growth-poverty relationship may have been an aberration of this period and that the expected relationship of the 1960s has again been reestablished in the 1990s. This is true even after accounting for changes in earnings inequality over the entire period. Copyright 2000 Western Economic Association International.
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