Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/93335
Authors: 
Gazeley, Ian
Newell, Andrew T.
Reynolds, Kevin
Searle, Rebecca
Year of Publication: 
2014
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Paper 7909
Abstract: 
We re-explore Able-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 newly-digitised Board of Trade Household Expenditure Survey data set for 1953/4. Able-Smith and Townsend used only a small part of this data source. We find that Able-Smith and Townsend substantially over-estimated the rise in absolute poverty and also substantially under-estimated the rise in relative poverty. Their and our findings on poverty reflect a large rise inequality in the distribution of expenditure among British households. This rise is related to a rise in the preponderance of pensioner households, who, for instance, account for all the poor households in the 1961 Family Expenditure survey.
Subjects: 
poverty
inequality 1950s
Britain
JEL: 
N34
I32
J12
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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