The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination / Edition 10

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Overview

For the past twenty years this book has been distinguished by its relevant coverage, tight organization, multidisciplinary perspective, and timeliness. The tenth edition preserves these qualities while incorporating new reference material. A three-part organization covers the dimensions of poverty and inequality, causes of poverty, and policy options. For social workers, welfare professionals, and job counselors.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
<:st> A text on poverty, with discrimination examined as a potential contributing cause. Coverage moves from poverty concepts to poverty measures, then into causation and policy options. Some issues examined include welfare reform, social insurance programs, and affirmative action, as well as family policy, minimum wage, class discrimination, age and health, discrimination in education, and the racial inferiority theory. This eighth edition incorporates the latest research from diverse disciplines, and lists related Web sites. An earlier edition was cited in Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booknews
A course text offering a structured and systematic analysis of poverty, inequality, and discrimination based primarily on economic theory but also drawing from sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology, and law. Seeks to discover why people are poor and what kinds of mitigation programs are effective. First published in 1973 and updated here from the 1995 edition to account to the sweeping welfare reforms introduced in the US in 1996. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131889699
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 7/25/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 231,462
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

Dramatic changes have occurred in the landscape of poverty and discrimination since the last edition of this text was published in 1998. The landmark welfare reforms of 1996 (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act) became fully effective in 1997. Since then, the individual states have assumed primary responsibility for welfare policy. Those reforms, plus a vibrant economy, set the stage for a precipitous decline in welfare caseloads. From a 1994 peak of 143 million recipients, the national caseload had fallen by over half by mid-2000. One of the urgent tasks of this new edition is to describe and explain these dramatic changes in welfare policy and dependency.

The poverty population has not changed as rapidly as the welfare population. On the contrary, the poverty population kept rising for several years even after welfare caseloads started declining. To many observers this dichotomy was a symptom of welfare-policy failure: The social safety net was being withdrawn. Subsequent studies revealed a more complex picture, however. While some former welfare recipients were in greater need, most were either finding jobs or changing living arrangements to attain greater economic security. Moreover, there was increasing evidence that even the poverty rate was finally receding as the national economy continued to expand briskly. The link between the macro economy and poverty apparently still exists.

In the arena of discrimination, similarly dramatic changes have occurred. The reversal of affirmative action that was embodied in California's Civil Rights Initiative (1996) has spread to other states and communities.Race-based busing programs are being dismantled; race and gender preferences in education and employment are being revised or discarded. At the same time, public-opinion polls and President Clinton's Race Initiative dialogues confirm that white, black, and Hispanic views of racism and discrimination remain highly divisive. Will class-based preferences bridge these perspectives, as some observers have suggested?

Beyond all of these specific policy changes is the continued evolution of the American family. As the 2000 Economic Report of the President emphasized, the American "family" continues to evolve at a disarming pace. Many aspects of poverty, inequality, and discrimination are affected by those changing family dynamics. So, too, must policy be responsive to the rise of single parenthood, working mothers, absent fathers, teen childbirth, and other demographic changes.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
All of these changes more than justify a fresh look at poverty, discrimination, and related topics. That is the purpose of this new edition. Once again, an effort has been made to incorporate the latest research findings from diverse disciplines, including economics, sociology, political science, gerontology, anthropology, law, and public health. Although my own training in economics gives a unique structure and perspective to the text, the discussion ranges far beyond the conventional boundaries of academic disciplines. This is particularly evident in expanded discussions of the urban underclass, the increasing feminization of poverty, the renewed IQ controversy, the behavioral constraints on welfare reform, and public attitudes on poverty, race, and inequality.

INTERNATIONAL CONTRASTS
In this eighth edition more attention is also paid to the international dimensions of poverty and discrimination. In chapter 2, for example, a boxed insert contrasts the World Bank's official poverty threshold ($1 per day!) and count with the dimensions of U.S. poverty. Many more references to international comparisons are made throughout the text.

WEB ADDRESSES
Another feature of this edition is the inclusion of Web site references. At the end of every chapter, Web addresses are provided that will enable students to access more data or other material.

LOGICAL ORGANIZATION
Despite these many changes, the basic organization of the text remains the same. The logical progression moves from poverty concepts to poverty measures, then into causation, and finally policy options.

The central focus of the text continues to be on the phenomenon of poverty, with discrimination examined as a potential contributing cause. The text begins with a conceptual discussion of poverty and inequality, highlighting the differing views of causation. Three distinct causal perspectives are introduced in chapter 1, namely Flawed Character, Restrictive Opportunity, and Big Brother. These competing "explanations" of poverty and inequality are referenced throughout the text in order to accentuate disparate views of why poverty persists and what role public policy should play.

Chapter 2 tries to quantify the dimensions of poverty. The seemingly mundane task of counting the poor has become increasingly controversial, as evidenced by the National Academy of Science's 1995 report and the ensuing debate over poverty standards and census methods. Chapter 2 summarizes the key dimensions of this debate and emphasizes how our perceptions of poverty depend on the yardstick used. Data for 1998 are used to illustrate both the official poverty count and the impact of various adjustments.

Chapters 3-10 address the major causes of poverty. Each chapter focuses on a cluster of related causes, drawing on a broad range of research. Points of controversy are emphasized and analyzed in the context of the best available evidence. The intent is not to advocate one point of view but to encourage critical thinking on central issues in the poverty debate.

The more prominent policy options for eliminating poverty are examined in the final five chapters. Welfare reform gets a lot of attention, in keeping with the historic 1996 reforms. Chapter 11 reviews the motivations for those reforms and discusses their implementation and impact. Chapter 12 is devoted to social insurance programs. In addition to Social Security and Unemployment Insurance, the chapter includes an extended description of child-support enforcement and assurance. In each case, the theoretical and historical foundations of the policy option are reviewed, with an eye toward assessing its antipoverty potential.

The potential of unemployment and training policies to reduce poverty is examined in chapter 13. The debate over whether economic growth creates "good" jobs or "bad" ones is reviewed, as are a host of skill-training programs. The impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply and income is also assessed in chapter 13.

The renewed debate over affirmative action is the central focus of chapter 14. The discussion reviews the history and experience of equal opportunity initiatives in both employment and education. The inherent conflict between affirmative action and reverse discrimination is examined in the context of legal milestones and the California and Texas experiences.

The ultimate objective of this book has not changed through eight editions. Its goal is to lay the foundations for a clearer understanding of poverty and discrimination and for a keener perspective on related public policy. Until we know why people are poor, or what kinds of programs are effective in combatting poverty and discrimination, we cannot expect these problems to disappear.

INSTRUCTOR'S MANUAL
Prepared by Steven Rock of Western Illinois University, the Instructor's Manual for this edition offers a brief synopsis of each chapter, a set of true/false and discussion questions, some lecture suggestions, Web-based links for updating text material, additional print references, and homework exercises. The Instructor's Manual is available on request from your Prentice Hall sales representative.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING
In prior editions I have never recommended additional readings to supplement the text presentation. However, I have been so impressed with the "Opposing Viewpoints" and "At Issue" series from Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA) that I think more instructors should be aware of them. The booklet-sized (50-100 page) readings cover a spectrum of topics including affirmative action, racism, welfare reform, homelessness, immigration and many more. The "Opposing Viewpoints" contain very short but sharp contrasts on key policy issues that will spark class debates.

Acknowledgments

As with previous editions, I have benefitted from the feedback of students and instructors who have used this text. I am particularly grateful for the detailed reviews provided by M. Neil Browne, Browling Green State University; Elizabeth T. Powers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Steven M. Rock, Western Illinois University; and Nirvikar Singh. University of California-Santa Cruz. I am also grateful to the many personnel at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Social Security Administration who provided the data-much of it unpublished-to update this edition. My research assistants, Henry Hogue and Adam Hoffman, also proved to be adept at ferreting data from sundry sources. Finally, I would like to thank Maureen Wilson, my production editor at Prentice Hall, who has shepherded several editions of this text through the production process.

Bradley R. Schiller
The American University

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Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter 1 — Views of Inequality and Poverty

Chapter 2 — Inequality

Chapter 3 — Counting the Poor

Chapter 4 — Global Poverty and Inequality

Chapter 5 — Labor Force Participation

Chapter 6 — The Working Poor

Chapter 7 — Age and Health

Chapter 8 — Family Size and Structure

Chapter 9 — The Underclass: Culture and Race

Chapter 10 — Education and Ability

Chapter 11 — Discrimination in Education

Chapter 12 — Discrimination in the Labor Market

Chapter 13 — Welfare Programs

Chapter 14 — Social Insurance Programs

Chapter 15 — Employment Policies

Chapter 16 — Equal Opportunity Policies

Chapter 17 — Direction and Prospects

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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

Dramatic changes have occurred in the landscape of poverty and discrimination since the last edition of this text was published in 1998. The landmark welfare reforms of 1996 (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act) became fully effective in 1997. Since then, the individual states have assumed primary responsibility for welfare policy. Those reforms, plus a vibrant economy, set the stage for a precipitous decline in welfare caseloads. From a 1994 peak of 143 million recipients, the national caseload had fallen by over half by mid-2000. One of the urgent tasks of this new edition is to describe and explain these dramatic changes in welfare policy and dependency.

The poverty population has not changed as rapidly as the welfare population. On the contrary, the poverty population kept rising for several years even after welfare caseloads started declining. To many observers this dichotomy was a symptom of welfare-policy failure: The social safety net was being withdrawn. Subsequent studies revealed a more complex picture, however. While some former welfare recipients were in greater need, most were either finding jobs or changing living arrangements to attain greater economic security. Moreover, there was increasing evidence that even the poverty rate was finally receding as the national economy continued to expand briskly. The link between the macro economy and poverty apparently still exists.

In the arena of discrimination, similarly dramatic changes have occurred. The reversal of affirmative action that was embodied in California's Civil Rights Initiative (1996) has spread to other states andcommunities.Race-based busing programs are being dismantled; race and gender preferences in education and employment are being revised or discarded. At the same time, public-opinion polls and President Clinton's Race Initiative dialogues confirm that white, black, and Hispanic views of racism and discrimination remain highly divisive. Will class-based preferences bridge these perspectives, as some observers have suggested?

Beyond all of these specific policy changes is the continued evolution of the American family. As the 2000 Economic Report of the President emphasized, the American "family" continues to evolve at a disarming pace. Many aspects of poverty, inequality, and discrimination are affected by those changing family dynamics. So, too, must policy be responsive to the rise of single parenthood, working mothers, absent fathers, teen childbirth, and other demographic changes.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
All of these changes more than justify a fresh look at poverty, discrimination, and related topics. That is the purpose of this new edition. Once again, an effort has been made to incorporate the latest research findings from diverse disciplines, including economics, sociology, political science, gerontology, anthropology, law, and public health. Although my own training in economics gives a unique structure and perspective to the text, the discussion ranges far beyond the conventional boundaries of academic disciplines. This is particularly evident in expanded discussions of the urban underclass, the increasing feminization of poverty, the renewed IQ controversy, the behavioral constraints on welfare reform, and public attitudes on poverty, race, and inequality.

INTERNATIONAL CONTRASTS
In this eighth edition more attention is also paid to the international dimensions of poverty and discrimination. In chapter 2, for example, a boxed insert contrasts the World Bank's official poverty threshold ($1 per day!) and count with the dimensions of U.S. poverty. Many more references to international comparisons are made throughout the text.

WEB ADDRESSES
Another feature of this edition is the inclusion of Web site references. At the end of every chapter, Web addresses are provided that will enable students to access more data or other material.

LOGICAL ORGANIZATION
Despite these many changes, the basic organization of the text remains the same. The logical progression moves from poverty concepts to poverty measures, then into causation, and finally policy options.

The central focus of the text continues to be on the phenomenon of poverty, with discrimination examined as a potential contributing cause. The text begins with a conceptual discussion of poverty and inequality, highlighting the differing views of causation. Three distinct causal perspectives are introduced in chapter 1, namely Flawed Character, Restrictive Opportunity, and Big Brother. These competing "explanations" of poverty and inequality are referenced throughout the text in order to accentuate disparate views of why poverty persists and what role public policy should play.

Chapter 2 tries to quantify the dimensions of poverty. The seemingly mundane task of counting the poor has become increasingly controversial, as evidenced by the National Academy of Science's 1995 report and the ensuing debate over poverty standards and census methods. Chapter 2 summarizes the key dimensions of this debate and emphasizes how our perceptions of poverty depend on the yardstick used. Data for 1998 are used to illustrate both the official poverty count and the impact of various adjustments.

Chapters 3-10 address the major causes of poverty. Each chapter focuses on a cluster of related causes, drawing on a broad range of research. Points of controversy are emphasized and analyzed in the context of the best available evidence. The intent is not to advocate one point of view but to encourage critical thinking on central issues in the poverty debate.

The more prominent policy options for eliminating poverty are examined in the final five chapters. Welfare reform gets a lot of attention, in keeping with the historic 1996 reforms. Chapter 11 reviews the motivations for those reforms and discusses their implementation and impact. Chapter 12 is devoted to social insurance programs. In addition to Social Security and Unemployment Insurance, the chapter includes an extended description of child-support enforcement and assurance. In each case, the theoretical and historical foundations of the policy option are reviewed, with an eye toward assessing its antipoverty potential.

The potential of unemployment and training policies to reduce poverty is examined in chapter 13. The debate over whether economic growth creates "good" jobs or "bad" ones is reviewed, as are a host of skill-training programs. The impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply and income is also assessed in chapter 13.

The renewed debate over affirmative action is the central focus of chapter 14. The discussion reviews the history and experience of equal opportunity initiatives in both employment and education. The inherent conflict between affirmative action and reverse discrimination is examined in the context of legal milestones and the California and Texas experiences.

The ultimate objective of this book has not changed through eight editions. Its goal is to lay the foundations for a clearer understanding of poverty and discrimination and for a keener perspective on related public policy. Until we know why people are poor, or what kinds of programs are effective in combatting poverty and discrimination, we cannot expect these problems to disappear.

INSTRUCTOR'S MANUAL
Prepared by Steven Rock of Western Illinois University, the Instructor's Manual for this edition offers a brief synopsis of each chapter, a set of true/false and discussion questions, some lecture suggestions, Web-based links for updating text material, additional print references, and homework exercises. The Instructor's Manual is available on request from your Prentice Hall sales representative.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING
In prior editions I have never recommended additional readings to supplement the text presentation. However, I have been so impressed with the "Opposing Viewpoints" and "At Issue" series from Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA) that I think more instructors should be aware of them. The booklet-sized (50-100 page) readings cover a spectrum of topics including affirmative action, racism, welfare reform, homelessness, immigration and many more. The "Opposing Viewpoints" contain very short but sharp contrasts on key policy issues that will spark class debates.

Acknowledgments

As with previous editions, I have benefitted from the feedback of students and instructors who have used this text. I am particularly grateful for the detailed reviews provided by M. Neil Browne, Browling Green State University; Elizabeth T. Powers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Steven M. Rock, Western Illinois University; and Nirvikar Singh. University of California-Santa Cruz. I am also grateful to the many personnel at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Social Security Administration who provided the data-much of it unpublished-to update this edition. My research assistants, Henry Hogue and Adam Hoffman, also proved to be adept at ferreting data from sundry sources. Finally, I would like to thank Maureen Wilson, my production editor at Prentice Hall, who has shepherded several editions of this text through the production process.

Bradley R. Schiller
The American University

Read More Show Less

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