Transition Events in the Dynamics of Poverty. Chapter II: Literature Review


A review of the poverty transitions literature finds two broad questions that have been examined: (1) What are the probabilities associated with entries into, exits from, and reentries into poverty? and (2) What are the events associated with entries into and exits from poverty? (Table 1). The first question has been addressed by numerous studies, most thoroughly in a recent study by Stevens (1999). The second question has not been fully addressed in the literature and is the focus of this study. Below we review the theories and findings from the poverty transitions literature, focusing especially on results pertaining to events associated with poverty entries and exits.(3) As the poverty literature is large, we narrowly focus on the U.S. poverty transitions literature and do not review related literatures such as those on poverty transitions in developing countries, poverty duration, or transition events in the dynamics of such programs as welfare, food stamps, and foster care.


Table 1:
Summary of Empirical Poverty Transitions Literature.
Study Data Years Primary Sample Studied Research Question(s) Addressed
Bane and Ellwood 1986 PSID 1970-1982 Persons Under Age 65 Exits, Events
Blank 1997 PSID 1979-1991 Total U.S. Events
Duncan and Rodgers 1988 PSID 1968-1982 Children Events
Eller 1996 SIPP Oct. 1991 - Apr. 1994 Total U.S. Exits, Events
Gottschalk and Danziger 1993 CPS 1968, 1986 Children Events
Iceland 1997b PSID 1970-1985 Adults Ages 18-64 in Metropolitan Areas Exits, Events
Naifeh 1998 SIPP Oct. 1992 - Dec. 1995 Total U.S. Entries, Exits
Rank and Hirschl 1999a PSID 1968-1992 Adults Ages 60-90 Entries
Rank and Hirschl 1999b PSID 1968-1992 Adults Ages 20-85 Entries
Ruggles 1990 CPS, SIPP 1984 Total U.S. Entries
Ruggles and Williams 1987 SIPP 1983-1984 Total U.S. Entries
Stevens 1994 PSID 1970-1987 Total U.S. Exits, Reentries
Stevens 1999 PSID 1967-1988 Total U.S. Exits, Reentries
Zick and Smith 1991 PSID 1970-1984 Widows and Widowers Events
Zick and Holden 2000 SIPP Feb. 1990 - Apr. 1995 Widows Ages 40+ Events

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