One of the principal goals of antipoverty efforts should be to improve the absolute living standards of the least well-off. Drawing on the experiences and date of twenty countries since the 1970s, Lane Kenworthy (University of Arizona) addresses in his new book Progress for the Poor a set of questions at the heart of political economy and public policy: How much does economic growth help the poor? When and why does growth fail to trickle down? How can social policy help? Can a country have a sizeable low-wage sector yet few poor households? Are universal programs better than targeted ones? What role can public services play in antipoverty efforts? What is the best tax mix?
The book’s chapter smoothly his main arguments, such as “Growth Is Good for the Poor, if Social Policy Passes It On”, “How Trickle Down Can Fail: the U.S. Case”, “Generous Social Policy Reduces Material Deprivation”, and more.
Progress for the Poor is a well-argued book is a bold attempt to compare the well-being of the least well-off and the effects of various government taxing and income support programs.
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