Alternative measures of income poverty and the anti poverty effects of taxes and transfers
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Alternative Measures of Income Poverty and the Anti-poverty Effects of Taxes and Transfers. Presentation to University of Maryland-AEI Seminar on Poverty Measurement Daniel H. Weinberg, Chief Economist May 10, 2005. Request from Seminar Planning Group.

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Alternative measures of income poverty and the anti poverty effects of taxes and transfers

Alternative Measures of Income Poverty and the Anti-poverty Effects of Taxes and Transfers

Presentation to

University of Maryland-AEI

Seminar on Poverty Measurement

Daniel H. Weinberg, Chief Economist

May 10, 2005


Request from seminar planning group
Request from Seminar Planning Group

  • Besharov and Green (AEI) worked with seminar planning group to develop alternative measures of income poverty and methods to gauge the impact of taxes and transfers

  • They asked the Census Bureau about which measures were feasible to compute with existing resources before the next seminar


Five decisions must be made for any poverty measure
Five Decisions Must be Made for Any Poverty Measure

  • Income concept

  • Unit of analysis

  • Equivalence scale

  • Inflation adjustment

  • Data source


1 five income variants
1. Five Income Variants

  • Money income (used in official measure)

  • Pre-tax pre-transfer: money income excluding means-tested cash transfers

  • Pre-tax pre-transfer plus return to home equity

  • Post-tax, post-transfer: money income plus realized capital gains, plus non-cash transfers, plus EITC, minus income and payroll taxes

  • Post-tax, post-transfer plus return to home equity minus property taxes


Income additional information
Income: Additional information

  • Non-means tested transfers like Social Security included in all measures.

  • Work expenses are not subtracted from income, nor are medical out-of-pocket costs.

  • John Coder (Sentier Research) computed other measures that include some unreported transfer income; these will be discussed at the end of the presentation.


2 two units of 3 two thresholds analysis equivalence scales

Family

Household

Tabulations presented here do not include unrelated children under 15 in families or in households

Official

Experimental three-parameter

3-parameter scale

1 adult: 1.00;

2 adults: 1.41;

Single parents: [1.8+0.5*(children-1)]0.7

Other families: [Adults+0.5*children]0.7

2. Two Units of 3. Two Thresholds Analysis (Equivalence Scales)


4 two ways to 5 data source adjust thresholds for inflation

Published CPI-U: 1963-1982 CPI-U

1983-1999 CPI-U-X1

2000-2002 CPI-U-RS

CPI-U-RS:

1963-1977 CPI-U, 1978-2002 CPI-U-RS

2003 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC)

4. Two Ways to 5. Data SourceAdjust Thresholds for Inflation


Measurement issues
Measurement Issues

  • Unable to partition all income sources into means-tested and non-means tested parts.

  • Improved methods for valuing noncash benefits like housing have not yet been implemented.


Warnings
Warnings

  • This is a work in progress.

  • No significance tests have been performed. Because all these estimates are from the same dataset, conventional measures of sampling error do not apply.

  • The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for any changes to the official measure of poverty.


Poverty thresholds 2002 examples
Poverty Thresholds, 2002: Examples

Note: The 3-parameter (CPI) threshold for a 2-adult 2-child family is equal to the official threshold for that family by design; others are lower.


Percent in poverty 2002 family measures using official thresholds and cpi
Percent in Poverty : 2002Family Measures using Official Thresholds and CPI

HE*=imputed return to home equity


Percent in poverty 2002 money income measures for families households
Percent in Poverty : 2002Money Income Measures for Families & Households

HE*=imputed return to home equity


Percent in poverty 2002 money income and pre transfer measures
Percent in Poverty : 2002Money Income and Pre-Transfer Measures

HE*=imputed return to home equity


Measuring the distributional effect the poverty shares change index
Measuring the Distributional Effect:The “Poverty Shares Change Index”

  • Example: People in poverty in California

  • Official measure: 4.605 of 34.570 million (13.32%)

  • Pre-transfer pre-tax income including imputed return to home equity, for people in households, using the 3-parameter thresholds adjusted for inflation using the CPI-U-RS [PreT+HE*-H-3p-RS] measure: 3.305 of 24.418 million (13.54%)

  • Ratio=13.54/13.32=poverty shares change index of 101.6

  • Interpretation: People in poverty in California are a larger percentage of all those in poverty when the PreT+HE*-H-3p-RS measure is used than when the official poverty measure is used (their share is 1.6% larger)




Pre transfer poverty shares by state largest changes versus share of official poverty
Pre-transfer Poverty Shares by State: Largest Changes (versus share of official poverty)

  • Families-3 parameter-RS

  • share increased 10% or more:

    • DC, Connecticut, Hawaii (115.4)

  • share decreased 10% or more:

    • Missouri, Idaho (88.6)

  • Households-3 parameter-RS

  • share increased 10% or more:

    • South Carolina, Alabama, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, DC, West Virginia (118.8)

  • share decreased 10% or more:

    • Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota (75.7)


[Official=100]

HE*=imputed return to home equity


Percent in poverty 2002 addition of post transfer post tax measures
Percent in Poverty : 2002Addition of Post-transfer, Post-tax Measures

HE*=imputed return to home equity

HE=imputed return to home equity minus property taxes


Percent in poverty 2002 official and 29 alternative measures
Percent in Poverty : 2002Official and 29 alternative measures

(PostT and PostT+HE household estimates from Sentier Research.)

HE*=imputed return to home equity

HE=imputed return to home equity minus property taxes


HE*=imputed return to home equity

HE=imputed return to home equity minus property taxes


HE*=imputed return to home equity

HE=imputed return to home equity minus property taxes


HE*=imputed return to home equity

HE=imputed return to home equity minus property taxes


Post transfer poverty shares by state largest changes versus share of official poverty
Post-transfer Poverty Shares by State: Largest Changes (versus share of official poverty)

  • Families-3 parameter-RS

  • share increased 10% or more:

    • Nebraska,Indiana,Illinois,Ohio,New Mexico (113.2)

  • share decreased 10% or more:

    • Nevada,Mass.,Maine,Alaska,Kansas,Connecticut (83.1)

  • Households-3 parameter-RS

  • share increased 10% or more:

    • Ohio, N Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, S Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, Louisiana (122.6)

  • share decreased 10% or more:

    • Kansas, Hawaii, Utah, Wash., Nevada, Idaho, Mass., Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Conn., Minnesota (70.1)


Extent of cps unreported income from october seminar
Extent of CPS Unreported Income(from October seminar)

  • Ruser, Pilot, and Nelson (2004) study compared BEA State Personal Income (SPI) with CPS ASEC money income for 2001

  • BEA: $8.670 trillion

  • CPS: $6.446 trillion

  • Difference: $2.233 trillion

  • However, adjustments to BEA SPI are needed to derive a concept consistent with CPS ASEC.

  • Remaining gap is $806 billion.


Key areas of cps response error
Key Areas of CPS Response Error

Wages and Salaries: 3 percent underreporting accounts for $158 billion of the gap

Self-Employment income: 48 percent underreporting accounts for $302 billion of the gap

Interest and Dividends: 32 percent underreporting accounts for $132 billion of the gap

Transfer Programs: 23 percent underreporting accounts for $199 billion of the gap


Transfer income imputation
Transfer Income Imputation

  • Census Bureau analysts are unfamiliar with the adjustment methods used in the Urban Institute’s TRIM model so these adjustments were implemented by Sentier Research using the CPS ASEC public use file.

  • Imputations were done for underreported Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income only.

  • We also have a concern that undercoverage of the low-income population by the survey might affect the reliability of such an imputation.


Effects of Adjusting for Unreported TANF, SSI, FS Income on Household Poverty Rate Measures: 2002[Official poverty rate= 12.1 percent]

All estimates from Sentier Research.

TANF=Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; FS=Food Stamps, SSI=Supplemental Security Income


All estimates from Sentier Research Household Poverty Rate Measures: 2002.


All estimates from Sentier Research Household Poverty Rate Measures: 2002.


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