Poverty and Inequality Research Group
Understanding how much poverty exists is the first step to reducing it. Projects in this area contribute to active debates about how best to measure poverty.
The Oregon Poverty Measure helps policymakers understand the extent of poverty. Measuring the influence of state policies on the poverty rate will help policymakers and others to evaluate their effectiveness. The ORPM sheds new light on the demographics, geographic distribution, and living situations of the poor, and reveal new inequalities and opportunities to reduce poverty in Oregon.
Canada, the United States and other OECD countries are experiencing rising economic inequality. Recent insights have shown that the rise in incomes and wealth are drivers of inequality (Fortin, Green, Lemieux, Milligan, & Riddell, 2012; Piketty & Saez, 2014). Yet to date, very little empirical research on inequality has focused on the well-being of those located in the lower ends of asset and wealth distributions. Furthermore, the vast majority of poverty research is conducted from an income-oriented perspective. In contrast, the concept of asset poverty offers a qualitatively and quantitatively different understanding of poverty (as compared to income poverty). Asset poverty is defined as having insufficient assets to maintain a certain standard of living for a predefined amount of time. This project includes several studies of asset poverty in the context of Canada and the United States.
The project is expected to yield findings of great interest to policymakers, advocates, think-tanks and community practitioners concerned with addressing issues related to poverty and social exclusion, as well as enrich public discourse on economic inequality more broadly. The project is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.