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Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States

Marianne Bitler (), Hilary Hoynes and Elira Kuka ()

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2017, vol. 36, issue 2, 358-389

Abstract: In this paper, we comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty, with particular attention to the role of the social safety net in mitigating the adverse effects of shocks to earnings and income. Using a state panel data model and data for 2000 to 2014, we estimate the relationship between the business cycle and child poverty, and we examine how and to what extent the safety net is providing protection to at‐risk children. We find compelling evidence that the safety net provides protection; that is, the cyclicality of after‐tax‐and‐transfer child poverty is significantly attenuated relative to the cyclicality of private income poverty. We also find that the protective effect of the safety net is not similar across demographic groups, and that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those living with Hispanic or single heads, or particularly those living with immigrant household heads—or immigrant spouses—experience larger poverty cyclicality than those living with non‐Hispanic white or married heads, or those living with native household heads with native spouses. Our findings hold across a host of choices for how to define poverty. These include measures based on absolute thresholds or more relative thresholds. They also hold for measures of resources that include not only cash and near‐cash transfers net of taxes but also several measures of the value of public medical benefits.

Date: 2017
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http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.21963

Related works:
Working Paper: Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States (2016) Downloads
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