April 8 Conference to Examine Poverty Measurement Challenges

School of Public Policy event will explore how best to accurately measure poverty and economic resources in the United States

poverty scenesRIVERSIDE, Calif. – Accurately determining how many Americans live in poverty is essential to the design and administration of effective public policies and programs. But current measurement tools, which were developed in the early 1960s, may not provide an accurate picture of poverty in the United States today.

The Blum Initiative for Global and Regional Poverty, an affiliated research center of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy, will present a conference on Friday, April 8, that will examine the current state of measuring poverty in the U.S. and explore new measurement standards that could be more useful to government analysts, policymakers and nonprofits.

The conference, “The Measurement of Poverty and Economic Resources,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Humanities 1500. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and may be made online. Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

“Government agencies, social service agencies, journalists, and policymakers all rely heavily on estimates of the poverty rate, the number of people in poverty, and statistics on those in need,” explained David Brady, professor of public policy and director of the Blum Initiative. “Still, the measurement of poverty remains a highly contested and complicated challenge. Especially in a time of low response rates to surveys, it is particularly important for social scientists to advance more sophisticated and rigorous efforts to measure poverty and economic resources.”

Conference speakers will address a variety of the biggest challenges to measuring poverty effectively, Brady added. Discussions will focus on the problems with existing approaches to measuring poverty, and how the measurement of poverty and economic resources can improve.

Speakers and their topics are:

  • 9-9:55 a.m. – Bruce Meyer, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, “How We Should Measure Poverty: Beyond Consumption and the Supplemental Poverty Measure”
  • 9:55-10:50 a.m. – Liana Fox, Abt Associates, Cambridge, Mass., “Revisiting Poverty Trends Using a Historical Supplemental Poverty Measure”
  • 10:50-11:05 a.m. – Coffee break
  • 11:05a.m.-Noon – Shawn Fremstad, Center for American Progress and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C., “How Should We Measure Poverty and Basic Economic Security in an Era of Inequality?”
  • Noon-1:15p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15-2:10 p.m. – Arie Kapteyn, University of Southern California, “When Is Someone Poor?”
  • 2:10-3:05 p.m. – Marianne Bitler, UC Davis, “Measurement Error in Program Participation in Household Surveys: A Case Study of Policy Variation and the Business Cycle”
  • 3:05-3:20 p.m. – Coffee break
  • 3:20-4:15 p.m. – David Brady, UC Riverside, “How to Measure and Proxy Permanent Income”

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Mark Manalang
Tel: (951) 827-5656
E-mail: mark.manalang@ucr.edu

David Brady
Tel: (951) 827-5573
E-mail: david.brady@ucr.edu

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