The Poor and the Poorest, Fifty Years on

32 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2014

See all articles by Ian Gazeley

Ian Gazeley

University of Sussex

Andrew Newell

University of Sussex - School of Social Sciences & Cultural Studies; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kevin P Reynolds

University of Sussex

Rebecca Searle

University of Sussex

Abstract

We re-explore Able-Smith and Townsend's landmark study of poverty in early post WW2 Britain. They found a large increase in poverty between 1953-4 and 1960, a period of relatively strong economic growth. Our re-examination is a first exploitation of the newly-digitised Board of Trade Household Expenditure Survey data set for 1953/4. Able-Smith and Townsend used only a small part of this data source. We find that Able-Smith and Townsend substantially over-estimated the rise in absolute poverty and also substantially under-estimated the rise in relative poverty. Their and our findings on poverty reflect a large rise inequality in the distribution of expenditure among British households. This rise is related to a rise in the preponderance of pensioner households, who, for instance, account for all the poor households in the 1961 Family Expenditure survey.

Keywords: poverty, inequality 1950s, Britain

JEL Classification: N34, I32, J12

Suggested Citation

Gazeley, Ian and Newell, Andrew T. and Reynolds, Kevin P and Searle, Rebecca, The Poor and the Poorest, Fifty Years on. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7909. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2389257

Ian Gazeley (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/history/profile985.html

Andrew T. Newell

University of Sussex - School of Social Sciences & Cultural Studies ( email )

Falmer, Brightonm BN1 9QN
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1273 606755 (Phone)
+44 (0)1273 673563 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Kevin P Reynolds

University of Sussex ( email )

Rebecca Searle

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
No Address Available

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