Analysis of Poverty Dynamics in Canada (Working Paper 9)
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While we know much about poverty (or “low income”) in Canada in a static context, our understanding of the underlying dynamics remains very limited. This is particularly problematic from a policy perspective and the country has been increasingly left out on an international level in this regard. The contribution of this paper is to report the results of an empirical analysis of low income (“poverty”) dynamics in Canada using the recently available “LAD” tax-based database. The paper first describes the general nature of individuals’ poverty profiles (how many are short-term versus longterm, etc.)., the breakdown of the poor population in any given year amongst these different types, and the characterisation of poverty profiles by sex and family type. It then reports the estimation of various econometric models, starting with a set which specifies entry into and exit from poverty in any given year as a function of a variety of personal attributes and situational characteristics, including family status and changes therein, province of residence, inter-provincial mobility, language, area size of residence and calendar year (to capture trend effects). A set of proper hazard models then adds duration effects to these specifications to see how exit and re-entry probabilities shift with the amount of time spent in a poverty spell or after having exited a previous spell. A final set of specifications then investigates “occurrence dependence” effects by including past poverty spells first in an entry model and then with respect to the probability of being poor in a given year. Policy implications are discussed.