County Characteristics and Poverty Spell Length

Applied Economics Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 19-44, 2007

Posted: 20 Apr 2011

See all articles by Andrew Grodner

Andrew Grodner

East Carolina University - Department of Economics

John A. Bishop

East Carolina University - College of Business

Thomas J. Kniesner

Claremont Graduate University - Department of Economic Sciences; Syracuse University - Department of Economics; IZA

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

In this paper we ask, how do individual and community factors influence the average length of poverty spells? We measure local economic conditions by the county unemployment rate and neighborhood spillover effects by the racial makeup and poverty rate of the county. We find that moving an individual from one standard deviation below the mean poverty rate to one standard deviation above the mean poverty rate (from the inner city to the suburbs) lowers the average poverty spell by 20 to 25 percent. This effect is equal in magnitude to the effect of changing the household head from female to male. Also, we find that when we control for the demographic, human capital, and county level effects the conditional effect for high school graduates is only 2 months (85 percent smaller than the unconditional effect), black poverty spells are 7.8 months (half of the unconditional effect), and female headed households increase length of spells by 7.7 months (only 20 percent shorter than the unconditional effect).

JEL Classification: I32

Suggested Citation

Grodner, Andrew and Bishop, John A. and Kniesner, Thomas J., County Characteristics and Poverty Spell Length (2007). Applied Economics Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 19-44, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1815274

Andrew Grodner

East Carolina University - Department of Economics ( email )

A423 Brewster Building
Greenville, NC 27858
United States
2523286742 (Phone)

John A. Bishop

East Carolina University - College of Business ( email )

Department of Economics
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
United States

Thomas J. Kniesner (Contact Author)

Claremont Graduate University - Department of Economic Sciences ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States

IZA

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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