The poor and the poorest, 50 years on: evidence from British Household Expenditure surveys of the 1950s and 1960s

Gazeley, Ian, Gutierrez Rufrancos, Hector, Newell, Andrew, Reynolds, Kevin and Searle, Rebecca (2016) The poor and the poorest, 50 years on: evidence from British Household Expenditure surveys of the 1950s and 1960s. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society). ISSN 0964-1998

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Abstract

We re-explore Abel-Smith and Townsend’s landmark study of poverty in early post WW2 Britain. They found a large increase in poverty between 1953-4 and 1960, a period of relatively strong economic growth. Our re-examination is a first exploitation of the data extracted from the recent digitisation of the Ministry of Labour’s Enquiry into Household Expenditure in 1953-4. First we closely replicate their results. We find that Abel-Smith and Townsend’s method generated a greater rise in poverty than other reasonable methods. Using contemporary standard poverty lines, we find that the relative poverty rate grew only a little at most, and the absolute poverty rate fell, between 1953-4 and 1961, as might be expected in a period of rising real incomes and steady inequality. We also extend the poverty rate time series of Goodman and Webb (1995) back to 1953-4.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Inequality, 1950s Britain, Poverty
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions
Depositing User: Ian Gazeley
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 09:10
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 12:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61501

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
British Living StandardsR2E8ESRCRES=062-23-2054