NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Yonatan Ben-Shalom

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Working Papers

May 2011An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States
with Robert A. Moffitt, John Karl Scholz: w17042
We assess the effectiveness of means-tested and social insurance programs in the United States. We show that per capita expenditures on these programs as a whole have grown over time but expenditures on some programs have declined. The benefit system in the U.S. has a major impact on poverty rates, reducing the percent poor in 2004 from 29 percent to 13.5 percent, estimates which are robust to different measures of the poverty line. We find that, while there are significant behavioral side effects of many programs, their aggregate impact is very small and does not affect the magnitude of the aggregate poverty impact of the system. The system reduces poverty the most for the disabled and the elderly and least for several groups among the non-elderly and non-disabled. Over time, we fin...

Published: An Ass ess m ent of th e Ef fe ct ivenes s of Ant i- Povert y Programs in t he Un it ed S ta te s. In Oxfor d Han dboo k of t he Econ om ic s of Povert y, ed. P. J ef fe rs on, Ox for d Uni versi ty Pre ss, 201 2 ( wit h Y. Be n- Shal om and J .K . Scho lz).

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