Abstract: Paper No. 9

Changes in Economic Well-Being and Income Distribution in the 1980s: Different Measures, Different Outcomes

Richard V. Burkhauser and Amy D. Crews.

June 1997

Abstract:  This paper uses both cross-sectional and longitudinal data to show how the economic circumstances of vulnerable groups in the United States changed over the two peak years of the 1980s business cycle. Measured changes in economic well-being and income distribution of the entire population are found to be quite similar using either cross-sectional or longitudinal data. However, cross-sectional comparisons of the economic well-being and income distribution of persons living in older households or younger households receiving social assistance in 1979 and in 1989 are radically different from longitudinal comparisons of the economic well-being and income distribution of such persons in 1979 and ten years later.


A revised version of this paper appears in Peter Flora, Phillip R. DeJong, Julian LeGrande, and Jun-Young Kim (eds.), New Issues in Social Security, Volume 4 International Studies on Social Security. Aldershot, Great Britain: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. (1998), pp. 239-264. Those interested in this work should see that publication.