NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Dean Jolliffe

Development Data Group
World Bank
Washington, DC

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: The World Bank

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019Food Stamps and America’s Poorest
with Juan Margitic, Martin Ravallion: w26025
The paper provides the first assessment of: (i) America’s progress in lifting the lower bound—the floor—of the distribution of real income; (ii) whether the country’s largest antipoverty program, SNAP (“food stamps”), helped do so. An operational method of estimating the floor is implemented on micro survey data spanning 30 years, with various robustness and significance tests. SNAP partially compensated the poorest, and helped stabilize the floor. Nonetheless, the floor has been sinking over the last 30 years. The efficiency of SNAP in lifting the floor has declined over time. Full coverage of the poorest would lift the floor appreciable.
May 2018Social Protection and Economic Development: Are the Poorest Being Lifted-Up or Left-Behind?
with Martin Ravallion, Juan Margitic: w24665
Standard measures of poverty may reveal nothing about whether the poorest of the poor are being lifted-up or left-behind, yet this is a widespread concern among policy makers and citizens. The paper assesses whether public spending on social protection benefits the poorest and hence lifts the floor, and what role economic development plays. Evidence is presented for the developing world and the US. Across developing countries, a higher mean income comes with a higher floor. The bulk of this income effect is direct rather than via higher spending on social protection. That spending generally lifts the floor though this is mainly due to social insurance; on average, social assistance adds only 1.5 cents per day to the floor. Turning to the US, the paper finds that the floor has been sinking ...
 
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