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The contribution of hour constraints to working poverty in Britain

Abstract

We explore the implications of hours demand constraints on the propensity to experience poverty. Our analysis of British data suggests that whilst the extent of poverty increased over the period 1985–2001, its intensity, under some measures, declined. In terms of hours constraints, we find that even the most generous elimination of underemployment vis allowing workers to supply as many hours as they prefer (but not as few) without encountering any negative employment and/or hourly wage implications, leaves the poverty rate and poverty gap virtually unchanged.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to two anonymous referees for valuable comments. We are also grateful to the Social and Community Planning Research and the Data Archive at the University of Essex for collecting and supplying the British Social Attitudes Surveys of 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. We are also grateful to Professor Stephen Pudney for valuable advice. The normal disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Sarah Brown.

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Responsible editor: Junsen Zhang

Appendix

Appendix

Table 7 Sample statistics
Table 8 Multinomial logit sample selection (employed vs unemployed) dependent variable=1 (employed), 2 (unemployed), 3 (self-employed)
Table 9 Mincerian wage equation with sample selection
Table 10 Desired hours equation—total period; two-limit tobit
Table 11 Desired hours equation—period 1; two-limit tobit
Table 12 Desired hours equation—period 2; two-limit tobit

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Brown, S., Sessions, J.G. & Watson, D. The contribution of hour constraints to working poverty in Britain. J Popul Econ 20, 445–463 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-006-0086-7

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Keywords

  • Low-Pay
  • Poverty
  • Underemployment

JEL Classification

  • I32
  • J22
  • J30