Chapter Learning Objectives

  • Know how poverty is measured and be able to describe both the current scope of the poverty problem in the United States and how it has evolved over time.
  • Understand the principal policy weapons used to fight the war on poverty.
  • Understand how to use the neoclassical consumption-leisure model to show how these policy weapons affect individual wellbeing and work incentives.
  • Explain why a variety of constraints and conflicting social objectives make it extremely difficult to design and implement policies that tackle poverty.
  • Understand the principal factors responsible for the stunning decline in the number of welfare recipients that occurred over the period 1995–2002.