Has income growth in Britain become more pro-poor?

Publication type

Conference Paper


General Conference of the International Association for Research on Income and Wealth


Publication date

August 25, 2008


Assessments of who is getting better off over time typically summarize
changes in the incomes of particular groups, e.g. the poor or the rich,
or for subgroups such as lone parent families and other families with
children. These calculations ignore the fact that these groups change
composition over time: the same individuals are not being compared.
To assess whether this year's poor (or rich) are gainers or losers,
one has to track the fortunes of individuals using longitudinal data.
Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we compare the
patterns of individual income growth over the period 1992--1996 with
those of the period 1999--2003. We develop methods providing a longitudinal
perspective, and show that the pattern of income growth became more
pro-poor between periods, and in a different manner than is revealed by
conventional analysis. The results are consistent with the aims of the
New Labour government to reduce pensioner and child poverty.

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