Rethinking the Demographic Risks of Poverty

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on November 3, 2014

Rethinking the Demographic Risks of Poverty: Prevalences and Penalties in a Comparative Global Perspective (David Brady)
in 2014-15 Workshops
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 – 12:00pm – 1:30pm
McNeil Building, Room 103

Co-sponsored by the Penn Department of Sociology as part of their 2014-15 Colloquium Series.
TO THE EXTENT THAT THE PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGES POVERTY as an “accident of birth” rather than the outcome of an individual’s choices or abilities, it is often demographic features – race, class, ethnicity, family background, parents’ marital status – that are foregrounded. David Brady’s work, however, points to what he argues is an even greater determinant of poverty: the “accident of birth” into a country with a greater or lesser commitment to supporting its citizens socially and economically. Among the world’s affluent nations, those where the welfare state has been and remains more robust exhibit lower levels of poverty. The variation is striking even when the example of the United States, exceptional in its high levels of poverty, is removed. In this talk, Brady questions the customary focus on demographics within nations to explain poverty, and shows that these explanations fall short from a comparative global perspective.

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