NPC Working Paper #05-25

November 2005

Work and Poverty During the Past Quarter Century

Rebecca M. Blank, Sheldon H. Danziger and Robert F. Schoeni, National Poverty Center, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

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Abstract

The paper is the introductory chapter in a volume of papers commissioned by the National Poverty Center, forthcoming from the Russell Sage Foundation in mid-2006, "Working and Poor: How Economic and Policy Changes Are Affecting Low-Wage Workers." Details about the project and Working Paper versions of each chapter are available by clicking here.

Several chapters in this volume analyze the ways in which the business cycle and long-run changes in the economic environment since the late 1970s have affected the employment and earnings opportunities for less-skilled workers. Other chapters focus on the composition and material well-being of low-income families. Other chapters evaluate the effectiveness of social assistance policies and the federal and state tax systems and how they interact with the economy over the course of the business cycle. The key question that runs throughout the papers in this volume is "How have economic changes and the economic cycle affected the well-being of less-skilled workers and low-income families?" The project is supported by funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.