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United States public policy and the elderly

The disproportionate risk to the well-being of women


Cross-sectional comparisons show that poverty among the aged in the United States has dropped dramatically over the last two decades. We use longitudinal data to identify economic events associated with unfavorable economic outcomes and to trace the influence of these events on women and men at different ages. We find that while social insurance programs appear to prevent severe financial hardship from the most frequent work-related events, they are far less effective in cushioning the economic impact of widowhood and divorce, especially for women. We suggest a number of policy changes that would provide some measure of social insurance against adverse family-related events.

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Burkhauser, R.V., Duncan, G.J. United States public policy and the elderly. J Popul Econ 4, 217–231 (1991).

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  • Public Policy
  • Social Insurance
  • Economic Impact
  • Longitudinal Data
  • Policy Change