Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Contributors

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

In December 2003, a conference was organized in Berkeley. We commissioned the eight papers in this volume, seeking out the preeminent expert on each of the related topics treated in this book. Drafts of the papers included here were originally presented at that conference. ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-29

The postwar era in the United States has been a time of rising national income and unprecedented gains in the economic well-being of American households. This prolonged period of growth led to a reduction in poverty rates but was also associated with a rise in the inequality...

Part I: Government Transfer Programs

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2. What Did the 1990s Welfare Reforms Accomplish?

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pp. 33-79

In August 1996, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Many pieces of legislation are heralded as “pathbreaking reform” when they are passed. PRWORA was an exception in...

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3. The Take-Up Social Benefits

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pp. 80-148

This chapter offers a review of recent literature regarding the take-up of social programs in the United States and the United Kingdom. A few general conclusions are drawn: First, take-up is enhanced by automatic or default enrollment and lowered by administrative barriers, although...

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4. Government Programs and Social Outcomes: Comparison of the United States with Other Rich Nations

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pp. 149-218

The United States has a long tradition of measuring income poverty and income inequality and weighing the effectiveness, successes, and failures of government policies aimed at poverty reduction. In our own way we have created a unique set of social policies that support widely...

Part II: Taxation and Social Insurance

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5. Income and Wealth Concentration in a Historical and International Perspective

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pp. 221-258

Recent studies have used tax statistics to construct top-income and wealth-shares series over the twentieth century for the United States and Canada and for a number of European countries: the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In the first part of the century, all...

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6. Social Security and the Evolution of Elderly Poverty

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pp. 259-287

One of the most striking trends in elderly well-being in the twentieth century was the dramatic decline in poverty among the elderly. The official poverty rate of those sixty-five years and older was 35 percent in 1960, more than twice that of the non-elderly (those aged eighteen...

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7. The Measurement and Evolution of Health Inequality: Evidence from the U.S. Medicare Population

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pp. 288-316

The technological revolution in health care has brought both great benefits with respect to survival and general well-being, and substantial increases in costs.1 Whether these changes have reduced inequality in health care or in health outcomes is not well understood. ...

Part III: Government Policies and Outcomes

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8. The Socioeconomic Status of Black Males: The Increasing Importance of Incarceration

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pp. 319-358

Over the past three decades, the average socioeconomic status of African American males has deteriorated, absolutely and relative to men from other racial and ethnic groups. Despite gains in relative earnings immediately following passage of the Civil Rights Act, the relative earnings of...

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9. Public Health and Mortality: What Can We Learn from the Past?

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pp. 359-397

City life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century was dirty and dangerous (Melosi 2000). The water and milk supply of cities was contaminated with bacteria that caused typhoid fever, dysentery, and diarrhea. Cities did not remove sewage and their streets were filled with garbage...

Index

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pp. 399-412