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Baird, Katherine
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
LIS Working Paper Series 617
This paper examines the evolution of the breadth and target of social policy in the US. By analyzing LIS household data from the US, the paper brings fresh evidence to longstanding debates over how inequality influences income redistribution, whether a welfare retrenchment has occurred, and whether growing inequality within the middle class has been associated with a shift in social policy from the poor to those higher up the income ladder. This I do by examining both income and the sources of that income using household-level data spanning four decades. The evidence in this paper does not indicate that a "welfare retrenchment" has occurred, nor that social transfers have drifted in their target from the poor to the middle class. Rather, the paper shows that the value of social transfers to those with similar levels of earned income along the income distribution show a tremendous degree of stability over time.
Document Type: 
Working Paper
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