Poverty and social policy planning

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Poverty and social policy planning in search of an integrated theoretical framework
Guss, Chris
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iv, 71 leaves : charts ; 28 cm


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Poverty ( lcsh )
Social policy ( lcsh )
Poverty ( fast )
Social policy ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-71).
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Cover title.
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Planning and Community Development, College of Design and Planning.
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Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Chris Guss.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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13107493 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A78 1985 .G86 ( lcc )


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!" ' I_ .. --, : ,-, '. I \ 1_.1 I ' ' ; ' \ ; Poverty and Social Policy Planning: In Search of an Integrated Theoretical Framework by Chris Guss -::;:::::> A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Planning and Community Development University of Colorado -Denver December 1985


,. I ; ,_ J _..' __ Acknowledgments This thesis has been a long time in the making, and there were many times when it seemed that it was not going to be possible to pursue it any longer. For its completion, I am grateful and indebted to many people: to my advisors Bernie Jones and Tom Clark for their guidance, Congresswoman Pat and her staff, particularly Kip Cheroutus for procuring the data tapes for me, Mike Miller of the National Archives and Records for the many dealings that went on selecting and formatting the tapes, and Dallas Jensen and the staff of C.U. Denver's Computing Services, who time and time again worked with me to reformat the data until the tapes finally ran -:.... .1 .,, I, I' .... .. .. -----, .. _-.. ... .... ........ ..,.. .. ... '. -:..-... :. .Jo-._, ..::, .. ,_..,,.-... IJ.A::1 .r ....... ----.. ., ... .. ---. .. --. .. . . -. ........... -. -.... r-.: u":';. ' o . .o.,,...<-'l.-:-... ., iv


!_ \ L._; \ \ : '-' .. \ : I i __ ."-ABSTRACT This thesis is an examination of poverty at the theoretical level. This thesis grew has grown out of the belief that it is necessary to understand what exactly is the problem before remedial plans and actions can follow. Poverty, therefore, is traced historically to gain an under standing of its causes. Then this result is compared with the existing body of theory concerning poverty, which consists basically of two perspectives: the culturalist and the structuralist. Separately, neither of these two perspectives is adequate to explain the presence and the persistance of, poverty. Therefore, this thesis proposes a integrated theory of poverty which is composed of parts of the culturalist and the structuralist perspectives. The central linkage upon which this integrated theory rests is then tested against data from the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment to confirm its validity. The results support the theory and the contention that poor remain adaptive to the conditions imposed upon them by society. This creates a narrow position for the planner, who has to work within society to advocate substantial change of the structure of society. iii


I J I ---\ . -l.-, _ ; ;--. -1 _ : ,. J ' I-TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. i v ABSTRACT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 i TABLE OF CONTENTS. . . . i i LIST OF TABLES .................................. i CHAPTER 1: PREFACE Introduction ......... 1 Statement of Problem ........ 2 CHAPTER 2: HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT Historical Perspective 4 Primitive Hunting-Gathering Society ... 4 Traditional Agrarian Society 5 Industrial Society .......... 8 Post-Industrial Dilemma ....... 11 CHAPTER 3: POVERTY THEORIZATION Cultural Theory . 15 Structural Theory . 17 Theoretical Elements .... 20 Consolidation and Integration 27 CHAPTER 4: DATA, METHODOLOGY, AND HYPOTHESIS About SIME-DIME ........ 32 t4ethodo 1 ogy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Variables ................................ 36 Hypothesis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 CHAPTER 5: ANALYSIS Results from SIME/DIME ............ 45 Part One ................................. 47 Part Two. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Part Three ............................... 54 CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS .... 60 BIBLIOGRAPHY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 ;;


1 I i .. _. ; I -! LIST OF TABLES 3.1 The Poor Individual and Society: Interactions ..... 20 5.1 F-Test Results for Part One:. 3-Year Experimental and Control Group 48 5.2 Comparison of 3-Year Experimental and Control Subgroups By Sex, Race and Marital Status ......................................... 48 5.3 F-Test Results for Part Two: 20-Year Experimental and Control Group ............................................................. 51 5.4 Comparison of 20-Year Experimental and Control Subgroups By Sex, Race and Marital Status .... ......................................... 52 5.5 Stratification of 20-Year Experimental Subgroups By Change in Number of Hours Worked Per Week ....... 53 5.6 F-Test Results for Part Three: 3-Year and 20-Year Experimental Groups. . . . . . . . . . . . 54 5.7 Comparison of 3-Year and 20-Year Experimental Subgroups By Sex, Race and Marital Status ........................................... 54 5.8 F-test for Differences By Sex ......... 56 f 5.9 F-Test for Differences By Marital Status 56 5.10 F-Test for differences By Race .. 56 5.11 Stratification of 20-Year Experimental Subgroups By Hours of Work Per Week ....... 57 6.1 "Alternative Perspectives From Which To Support Or Oppose Publicly Funded Anti-Poverty Efforts" ............ 60 ( i


I :"I ,_ I I .. Chapter 1 Introduction Twenty years has passed since the 1naugaration of President Johnson's War on Poverty. However to date, the situation of America's poor appears to be regressing to a state comparable if not worse than it was in 1965. In retrospect, it is apparent that no coherent theoretical understanding of poverty was arrived at, much less applied. Among the litany of inadequacies and faults its critics cite, the inadequacy of theoretical understanding should be a central criticism. In the basic planning paradigm, research precedes implementation. What occurs in reality is not that neatly or logically ordered. A clear example of this is the fact that while the War on Poverty was launched in 1964, much of the research was forced to follow the programs in the form of monitoring. Common sense and the technique of trial and error were the basis of many programs. In the past year, both Michael Harrington and Senator Daniel Moynihan, through their updates of previous writings, have again brought national attention to the poor who are still among us. Whether this may signal the advent of additional or revised social policy and programs is unclear at this time given the current administration. But it is apparent that we no longer can afford to deal with poverty as we have done in the past. It is imperative that we have a better theoretical understanding of the poor and their plight before we begin so that our efforts can be more effective. page 1


Chapter 1 Statement of Problem One of the major prerequisites of any remedial action is an understanding of the problem, its symptoms and its causes. Without such an understanding, bloodletting makes as good sense as anything. All existing social policy dealing with the problemof poverty in any of its forms contains within it implicit, if not explicit, assumptions of the causes of poverty. In addition, behavorial attributes of the poor have been included in these assumptions. While this is quite normal, it is rarely scrutinized for its validity and therefore these assumptions, right or wrong, are imbedded in the form of the social policy that has been created to deal with the problems. For the most part, the assumptions used have been based on individual and partisan political viewpoints and perceptions of the world. The scientific inquiry of poverty began in the sixties with the supposed 11rediscovery11 of poverty. The research, on the whole, has been largely descriptive, (as with any area of study in its beginnings). Confusion exists between which are the causes and which are the symptoms of poverty, and consequently adequate analysis (diagnosis) and treatment have not emerged. The result has been that social policy dealing with poverty and its related problems has been inconsistant (because of the varying implicit and explicit assumptions) and overall has been inadequate to reach its aims. This inconsistancy manifests itself as a basic schism within the theoretical literature on poverty and the social policy created to deal with it. One viewpoint asserts that impoverished individuals are responsible for their poverty through a series of individual or cultural behaviorial attributes or particular misfortunes. The other viewpoint asserts that these individuals are a part of a society that contains some page 2


Chapter 1 structural inadequacies which are responsible for their poverty. Clearly there are many shades of grey between the two extremes, but if logically followed to their extremes, social policy and programs of the first extreme would involve the rehabilitation of the individual to greater conform with societys norms. While the second extreme would involve the restruc turing of society. Each form of social policy implicitly lays blame on either the impoverished individual or society and predicts a particular behavioral response from the receivers of this aid. This thesis will explore the two basic theoretical perspectives, create a single integrated perspective, evaluate this perspective in relation to data from the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment, and examine the implications of this perspective to planning social programs. Before doing so, I will briefly trace the emergence of poverty through time and cultures. In addition, I will trace the reactions to the poor and explanations of poverty to provide a basis for the development of a wider perspective and a causal understanding. page 3


I I i I : I I ' i_ i ; : ' ,_. Chapter 2 The Historical Perspective This narrative is not meant to be a definitive history of poverty, first, because I don't believe that such a truth exists and second, because I feel history serves us best as an illustrative and interpretative tool. Therefore, the present chapter is a historical perspective with the intent of tracing and highlighting several elements of society and poverty as they have developed through time. Three general types of societies have emerged in the history of humankind. They are the Primitive Hunting and Gathering Society, the Traditional 1 Agrarian Society, and the Industrial Society. Each of these societies will be examined within the framework of material deprivation (a more exact term than poverty) to gain a better understanding about how material deprivation is viewed by the society in general, and some indication of its causes. Material deprivation can be of two types: absolute and relative. Absolute deprivation refers to the level at which survival is threatened and relative deprivation refers to a level above the absolute but which is considerably lower than the rest of society enjoys. As these three types of societies are examined, it is important to examine how material deprivation is distributed and among whom. Once this has been accomplished a more critical understanding of the theories is possible. The Primitive Society The primitive society is characterized as fairly egalitarian, except for distinctions made by sex, age, and kinship groups. The society's productive base was the ability of its members to hunt and gather food. This often required the society to be nomadic or semi-nomadic to adapt to animal migrations and seasonal harvests. Little division of labor occurred page 4


" i u I I \ \ ) i _; Chapter 2 and only minor distributional inequity resulted. Culturally, generosity was valued and presribed by custom. Eames and Goode note that, 11rules existed for dividing up a large game animal, distributing a collectively produced harvest or for ceremonial redistribution such as sharing food at life 2 ritual cycles ... When the society experienced material deprivation, it was experienced by the group as a whole. This was in the form of absolute deprivation which threatened the survival of the entire group. This happened on occassion but many of these societies had achieved a productivity that kept them well above the levels of absolute deprivation and left them with considerable leisure time. Productivity was frequently high enough to support leaders, physicians, and religious specialists. Eames and Goode conclude that, Since little economic differentiation occurs, there is no group perception of a social category called 11the poor11 nor much individual feeling of relative deprivation. In spite of the relatively high level of material deprivation, poverty, the poor and relative deprivation are irrelevant concepts in primitive society. 3 The Traditional Agrarian Society With the advent of sedentary agriculture, the productivity of human society increased greatly which provided for many additional changes in the 1 ) society. In the following paragraph, Eames and Goode detail some of these changes: I l I i 1 I j Moreover, there is a complex system of social differentiation in such societies necessitating integrative, centralized economic and political institutions. Greater productivity releases part of the population from food-producing activities and a full-time occupational specialization develops. Closely related is development of true social classes; hereditary groups with differential access to wealth, prestige and power. Cities often develop as central points for administering large-scale marketing, taxation and other functions. Writing develops as a means of record keeping. However, most of the page 5


: I ' I L) : I I I I J I I : l l : I I i : I i I I I_ I J j I r f population remains distributed in agricultural vi 11 ages. 4 Chapter 2 It is in this society that the first instances of relative deprivation can be traced. While productivity has increased per capita, new ranks of people have emerged in various new occupations to vie for the surplus. Recruits for the clerical and bureaucratic classes come from the ranks of the elite, while recruits for the artisan and trader classes come from the ranks of the non-elite. As a carry over from perhaps the primi.tive society, this new surplus has been appropriated for the support of other than the producers themselves. Eames and Goode note that, The inequities of the distribution system geared to an ascribed (birthright) stratification system meant that a large proportion of production was siphoned off by the higher strata. This makes it likely that some segments of the population live at relatively high comfort levels while a very large proportion live at a marginal survival level. In fact, it is safe to say that while the total social system in agrarian states is less vulnerable than primitive systems, large numbers of people in these states are probably materially worse off than many individuals in primitive groups. 5 The important distinction between the primitive society and the agrarian society is the extent to which productivity was appropriated. In the agrarian society, the productivity expropriated was large enough to result in both relative as well as absolute material deprivation. Of the materially deprived, there were two groups and it is important to note that they were distinct from one another. The first group is referred to as the 11Underclass11 Although the individuals in this group are not always materially deprived in terms of wealth, they remain at the bottom of society because of their occupations and lifestyles. Eames and Goode note that, Those work activities commonly allocated to an underclass position are activities which involve contact with dirt, human excrement, and dead page 6


I I I \ i ; J r_ I I ;'1 .._ __ 'l 1 I l _.' i l : ; : i I >, I L-l carcasses. Mobile occupational groups such as entertainers, petty ceremonialists and beggers are also included. Another segment comprises participants in illict or immoral occupations, such as thieves and prostitutes. Other groups classified in this way are those in dependent status such as slaves and permanent servants. Those who follow such demeaning occupations are thought of as following immoral and depraved lifestyles. They are usually considered dirty, sexually immoral and promiscuous, excessive drinkers and violent. These behavioral attributes are believed to result from inherent spiritual and moral deprivation. 6 Chapter 2 The second group is known as "the needy" or "deserving". This group has experienced material deprivation because of either personal or economic hardship. Examples of personal hardship include widows, orphans, physically handicapped, and the sick. This group often requires aid, but it is understood that this is only because of circumstances beyond their control. The "deserving", who were as a result of economic hardship, have usually had their source of livelihood destroyed and have been forced to migrate from their homes. Disasters, such as floods, droughts, epide mics, infestations, and war usually force a group to relocate out of the hard Mt area. These "dislocated" often move to other areas and try to reintegrate themselves into another locality. In the meantime, even though their economic status might describe them as poor, they retain their pre vious occupational status until they are reintegrated into society. Thus their status as poor is viewed only as temporary one. It is interesting to note that these distinctions remain with us to this day. In addition to organizing society, occupational status extended membership into a guild or other group, which in turn provided other societial functions. Membership (informal or formal) in a occupational or corporate group 11 gave the individual a basic sense of security, real mutual aid, 7 and a source of identity" When individuals, who were aligned with a corpo-page 7


\._ __ I i \.....__,' i l.__ __ .. I i \_ __ i I ., ( __ L \.._, i ' : i I l 't I \ I_ Chapter 2 rate group, suffered from personal hardship, the group would extend aid. When I no group existed, often public begging was the next resort. I Public begging was commonly condoned by the society because of the indivi1 "deserving" status, and societal belief systems that encouraged the elites to give to the poor. The dislocated, however, had left their mutual support systems behind, and while they were considered to be deserving, this status was a temporary one. Begging was not an option upon which they could rely for long. They would attempt to get accepted into a new occupa tional group as soon as possible. Social mobility was very difficult in most agrarian societies and admittance into a group was usually a birthright. Therefore, the dislocated would often be forced to step down to the underclass to get readmitted into an occupational group The Industrial Society The transition from a traditional agrarian society into an industrial society brought with it many profound changes. The Commercial Revolution is essentially the starting point for many of these changes. While the following list is by no means a complete list of the changes that agrarian societies undertook while transforming into industrial societies, it does characterize the diversity and the systematic depth of the changes. Briefly these changes involved: the opening up of world trade with the advent of large seagoing vessels; the start of stock corporations to finance these expeditions; the wider acceptance of money as a vehicle of exchange; the consolidation of landholdings for commercial activities; the introduction of new technology; the dramatic continued growth of productivity; the advancement of disease control and the subsequent population explosion; the beginning of a massive rural to urban migration; the creation of new occupational groups and the obsolescence of older groups; the loss of control over one's means of production and the necessary page 8


' I_,__. : I ', "----' I I i, 1 Chapter 2 dependence on employment as a means for survival; and the periodic fluctuations in employment as the entire market responded to global variations in supply and demand. One of the most serious changes of this period was the severing of the bonds which held the traditional mutual aid systems together, leaving much of the population without any support systems to deal effectively with the other concurrent changes. It is for this reason that, in the industrial society, poverty is for the first time perceived as a social problem. Material deprivation in the industrial society increased in three ways. First, because a massive segment of the population had relocated to an urban setting, material deprivation was more visible. Thus, perception of it increased. Second, the mutual aid systems that had previously existed, to a large extent, were now gone. The materially deprived population was now without any support system to cushion it from effects of poverty. Third, the actual number of the population who were materially deprived increased during this period because of population increases and a massive rural to urban migration. These migrations can better as 8 dislocations because the population was essentially forced off the land. So the actual number of migrants that had been dislocated and materially deprived was quite high. Government recognition of poverty as an area of its concern also occurred for the first time in the Industrial Society. Given the preceding conditions, the threat of violence and rioting was quite obvious. It is at this time that government relief systems were first put into effect, as safety valves for social pressure. Many of the early approaches involved sending people back to wherever they had come from. While this did not in any way deal with the problem of material deprivation, it did serve to diffuse the potential for violent eruption, which was the focus of govern-mental concern. page 9


' '---' .. ___ ; I r,_ __ :' I I ;__ l ;o_ __ I I ) \ i \ I I :1 I j__: Chapter 2 While in the past, the dislocated poor were only a temporary feature and were eventually absorbed into various occupational groups, in the industrial era they could not be absorbed and were no longer temporary. Many old occupations had been replaced by new opportunities, but the old and new did not employ the same quantity and type of worker. Many industries preferred certain types of workers over others, such an example is the preference for child labor. Periodic recessions also curtailed the number of jobs available. Thus, for many, there were no jobs. Others supported themselves in what had traditionally been underclass occupations, such as scavenging, hawking, minor services, peddling, cleaning, thievery, and prostitution. Others attempted to beg as a source of livelihood. But these beggers did not fare as well as beggers in the previous agrarian societies, because the dominant ideology which supported begging had been lost and was being replaced by a new protestant set of ethics. The new emerging ideology equated material success with salvation, if not proof of salvation. Wealthy individuals were no longer compelled to support the poor to achieve their salvation. As Max Weber notes: Medieval ethics not only tolerated begging but actually glorified it in the mendicant orders. Even secular beggars, since they gave the person of means opportunity for good works through giving alms, were sometimes considered an estate and treated as such. Even the Anglican social ethic of the Stuarts was very close to this attitude. It remained for Puritan Asceticism to take part in the severe English Poor Relief Legislation which fundamentally changed the situation. And it could do that, because the Protestant sects and the strict Puritan communities did not know any begging in their own midst. 9 Material success became the criterion for social stratification and work had replaced divine intervention as the determinant of social class. Those who remained poor were viewed as lacking in the work ethic, and further dispensation of alms, it was concluded, would only encourage this deviant page 10


: I ; ', < ; : i ' -Chapter 2 behavior. The distinction that was made in agrarian society between the deviant underclass and the needy no longer existed. When society stratified its membership with its new criterion, wealth, the two groups were lumped together as one: the poor. Deviant behavior had now become a characteristic of all the poor. There was no major distinction made between the deserving 10 and the non-deserving poor. As society enlarged and the gap between the elites and the poor widened, the concern and understanding of the poor decreased, accordingly. Actual relief for material deprivation in the industrial society depends greatly on which country, in particular, is examined. Generally, the industrial society differentiated between relative and absolute material deprivation and relief was provided to keep the population above the absolute deprivation level. But because of the heavy emphasis laid upon the belief that work was the salvation from poverty, often relief to bring the population above the level of relative deprivation did not follow. Fortunately, per capita productivity has continued to grow at high rates through the history of industrial society. This growth has permitted many who have subscribed to the work ethic to succeed. These successes have further lent credence to the dominant societal ideology and the continued belief in the ideology by those who have yet to find their success and riches. Largely, this is how the social order has been preserved. But in times of recession or full scale depression, when this ideology loses its credibility, temporary aid has been extended to the poor to maintain the social order. This is essentially the societial reaction to poverty over the last 100 years. While there is a tendency to continue with such policy, it may no longer be possible without the concomitant increases in page 11


I i Chapter 2 productivity. Therefore, we may be forced to deal with poverty in new ways. The Post-Industrial Dilemma Historically, societal productivity has been continually appropriated by some segments of society, while others have been left with less than their share. It has only been because productivity has continued to rise that other sectors of the society, such as the middle class, have been able to benefit by getting a larger share of a growing pie. It is unlikely that the industrial society could have survived its turbulent periods without its high rate of growth in per capita productivity. But will it always be possible to keep the rate of growth high, and what happens when the rate falls or if the proverbial pie ceases to grow? Barry Bosworth states in a paper entitled, The Evolution of Economic Policy that, . slow productivity growth would seem to be an almost certain prescription for increased social conflict .. without a growth in productivity, greater income for some comes only at the expense of others. 11 Beginning in the 601s it would seem that our society has been making its transition into a post-industrial society and has begun to face such a crisis. Another economist, Manuel Castells, connects the social turmoil of the Sixties and the recessions of the Seventies. Basing his assertion on the theory of 11the falling rate of profit, .. Castells notes: The social investment required to boost labor productivity can demand such costly new means of production, not to mention the costs of the general conditions of production required (scientific research, for instance), that the value devoted by society as a whole (if not by monopolY capital) to the productivity increases is considerably higher. 12 Given a lack of ability to create profit at the desired rates, Castells defines Americas industrial and financial leaders interests as follows: page 12


I--l_-1 ___ ci ' i I ( __ 1 I I_ .. to curb inflation and absorb part of the debt; to increase productivity both through absolute and relative surplus value; to obtain help from the state for investment. shifting expenditures from social consumption and social expenses to social investment; to increase productivity in the service sector; to keep social unrest under control as much as possible.13 Chapter 2 Interestingly enough, these have been the tactics pursued over the past five years by the Reagan administration. Reagan's approach to poverty might be categorized as fostering a climate where productivity can continue to grow, and as the profits and jobs eventually trickle down, poverty will. eventually, decrease. However, the inability of a society to increase its productivity is not the fundamental cause of poverty or specifically material deprivation. Rather the cause lies in the political system employed to distribute the value, items. and services produced by that society as a whole. Increased productivity may mean that there is more to distribute throughout the society, but given an unequal system of distribution, it is unlikely that those in the most need will receive it. Distribution is the reason that material deprivation, mostly relative. remains in a society that has obtained heights in its levels of per capita productivity that previously had never been imagined as possible. As we move on to the body of theory concerning poverty and the poor, it is essential that these elements remain foremost in our sights. We would expect these elements to be explicit within any valid theory. but oftentimes they are not. page 13


Chapter 2 Notes 1 For the bulk of the informational content for this comparison, I am indebted to Edwin Eames and Judith Granich Goode, Urban Poverty in a Cross Cultural Context (New York: The Free Press, 1973), pp. 17-91. ---2 Ibid., p. 24. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., p. 25. 5 Ibid., pp. 25-26. 6 Ibid., p. 54. 7 Ibid. 8 Karl Marx details two ways through which this expulsion was accomplished: [The clandistine form occurred as] .. the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proleteriat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal ri9hts as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands.(pg 789) The parliamen tary form of the robbery is that of Acts for Enclosures of Commons, in other words, decrees by which the landlords grant themselves the peoples land as private property, decrees of expropriation of the people. Capital: of Political Economy (New Yorrk: The Modern Library, 1936), p. 796. 9 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons-rNew York:Charles Scribner1s Sons, 1958), pp. 177-178. 10 Eames and Goode, p. 74. 11 Barry Bosworth, 11The Evolution of Economic Policy11 (Paper presented at the Great Society Conference, Boulder, CO., 11 June 1984), pp. 7-8. 12 Manuel Castells, The Economic Crisis and American Society, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), p. 23. 13 Ibid., p. 154. page 14


' L.' '--Chapter 3 Theorization about Poverty By and large the theorization on poverty is split between the cultural and the structural perspectives, but the problem is not selecting one perspective to which we will adhere. Both are incomplete and cannot account for poverty and the poor in a reasonable manner. A comprehensive theory about poverty should address both the poor, the whole of society in which they exist, and the inevitable interactions between the two. While neither of the two following perspectives do so, they do form the basis for additional theorization, and therefore, they are reviewed here. Cultural Theorization Fundamentally, the cultural viewpoint lays the causation of poverty on the individual victim, the poor as a group, their culture, or other attributes (real or imagined) of the individual or group. Cultural viewpoints were the basis of the first theories advanced. In one of the earliest works relating to poverty, Thomas Malthus concluded that supplies of food resources increased arithmetically, while population grew geometrically. Therefore, 11poverty was attributable to the propensity of the poor to procreate and their inability to conserve whatever resources 1 were availible to them ... Another group of proponents of a culturalist perspective were the Social Darwinists. Darwin's phrase "the survival of the fittest" took on a new meaning as they stretched its context to include the human species. In Blaming the Victim, William Ryan elaborates on this perspective: Not only did this ideology justify the criminal rapacity of those who rose to the top of the industrial heap, defining them automatically as naturally superior (this was bad enough}, but at the same time it also required that those at the bottom of the heap be labeled as patently unfit -a label based solely on their position in soc1ety. According to the law of natural selection, they should be, in Spencer's page 15


' ,_ ( .. :__, '-L .. ' 'l.-.-' . I judgment, eliminated. 11The whole effort of nature is to get rid of such, to clear the world of them and make room for the better. 11 2 Chapter 3 Some social workers also held to a cultural viewpoint, but took a less severe stance compared to that of the Social Darwinists. Their approach, known as the casework approach, individualized each persons poverty by recognizing the particular circumstances surrounding each individual. While casework has many merits, it has its problems as well. These are described by Jeffry Galper: social casework is essentially conservative because it takes on a given and, consequently, lends support to the basic values and structures of the social order, by failing to examine the influence of social order on the individual in a systematic way. This produces diagnoses that do not go to the roots of the social issues influencing the individual and plans of action that operate within a limited range of alternatives. This is not to say that casework is unaware that people are influenced by their environment. However, caseworks awareness represents a transformed and ,inadequate formulation of the reality. The casework version permits some accomodation of casework practice to the unmistakable fact that people exist in society without forcing casework into an uncomfortable position of challenge to the society. 3 Perhaps, the strongest evidence used to support the cultural perspective was research done by Oscar Lewis examining the poor in Mexico, Puerto Rico and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. Noticing many similarities in the sociological and environmental characteristics of the poor in the various countries, Lewis began to speak of a common 11Culture of Poverty11 In the introduction of his book, La Vida, Lewis explains two parts of his thesis. The first part seems the most plausable and not necessarily culturally based: The culture of poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individuated, capitalistic society. It represents an effort to cope with feelings of hopelessness and despair which develop from the realization of the improbability of achieving success page 16


'----' --' I i : in terms of the values and goals of the larger society. Indeed, many of the traits of the culture of poverty can be viewed as attempts at local solutions for problems not met by existing institutions and agencies because the people are not for them, cannot afford them, or are ignorant or suspicious of them. w Chapter 3 The plausability part is more suspect. This is the portion most often cited by adherents of the culture of poverty thesis. The advocates of this thesis often overlook the realities that prompted the adaptations and instead focus on the characteristics of transmission. For those who prefer to blame the poor for their poverty, this portion can be quite satisfying. The culture of poverty, however, is not only an adaptation to a set of objective conditions of a larger society. Once it comes into existence, it tends to perpetuate itself from generation to generation because of it effect on the children. 4 Therefore, the programs which are based on this premise, will attempt to remedy poverty by reeducating or rehabilitating the individual. Structural Theorization In strong contrast to the cultural perspective, the structural viewpoint blames society and the normal functioning of its economy for the existence of poverty. The earliest examination of the problem from a structural viewpoint was by Classical and Orthodox economists who utilized a little of both the structural and the cultural approaches to explain poverty. They argued that a large surplus labor force was necessary for the proper performance of the economy, and that unemployment and the social conditions of those unemployed were essential to the economy. But when confronted with the criticism that 11proper performance .. should not include unemployment and poverty, these economists resorted to a cultural perspective and discussions of individual marginal productivity to defend the status quo. According to their argument, the market selects those with page 17


I : --' ' I Chapter 3 the higher productivity levels and those who are not productive enough to compete in the labor market are, hence, poor. The responsibility for pover-5 ty rests upon the poor themselves. Karl Marx essentially agreed with the Orthodox and Classical economists on the first point in their assertions that unemployment was part of the economy. But in his own judgment, these irregularities were I injustices. Rather than trying to defend the existing economic system, Marx 6 postulated its downfall for these very same reasons. Less sophisticated in their approach were the Descriptive Sociologists, to whom poverty was merely the sum of its parts. By remedying each of the parts, such as housing, education, or jobs, poverty could be cured. To them, poverty was merely a social dysfunction of society which 7 could be remedied without essentially changing the entire societal system. In our society, this is the prevailing structural approach. Focusing on the perpetuation of poverty, the proponents of the dual labor market perspective have suggested that "a dichotomization of the American labor market had occurred over time, forging two separate labor markets -a primary and a secondary market in which workers and employers 8 operate by fundamentally different behavioral rules. For the poor this has meant menial jobs that were low paying and offered no advancement. In addition these jobs involved "poor working conditions, considerable 9 variability in employment, harsh and often arbitrary discipline." No matter how much time an employee stayed at the job and regardless of the employee's skill or qualifications, the secondary labor market had little more to offer. One of the most recent attempts at constructing a theoretical model of poverty was built by A. Dale Tussing using the following four elements: the page 18


-: I Chapter 3 presence of a rigid class structure, geographically and economically isolated enclaves, an ideology of individualism, and prejudice. Tussing examines the 16 permutations of these elements as theoretical societies, and then proposes that poverty in America is caused by the combined 10 presence of all four elements and their interrelationships. Developing upon Tussings work, Harrell Rodgers has redefined these same four elements into three: the structure and ideology of welfare capitalism, geographic isolation, and the combined forces of racism and 11 sexism. While adding little to the body of theory, Rodgers work remains the latest structural theorization concerning the causes of poverty. I believe that both the cultural and the structural perspectives are fairly simplistic in terms of their depth of analysis. While the proponents of the culture of poverty perspective or the dual-labor markets perspective have been more sophisticated and scientific in their analysis than some of the predecessors, both perspectives still lack the ability to distinguish between a cause, a cultural response or a structural accomodation. The economists have shown a strong understanding of the workings of capitalism and a market economy, but they have neglected a direct societal examination of poverty and the poor. On the other hand, the sociologists demostrate a strong understanding of the poor and their circumstances, but miss the larger picture. The problem is that poverty broken out as sociologic or economic or societal or individual will always yield an inadequate under standing by nature of its initial disection. A much more integrated under standing is essential. page 19


' i I I I ! ' I i ' I i i .. I ___ Chapter 3 Theoretical Elements It is important to understand that both the cultural and the structural theories are the result of observations that have been accumulated over time, and this is to a great extent where their strengths lie. Their weaknesses are that they are isolated, myopic observations. Like the two blind men standing at different ends of the same elephant, each is convinced the other1s perception of the elephant is wrong. Perceiving the wider picture of poverty is not a simple matter, largely because we, the observers, are part of the picture and therefore have no reference points to guide us. The theory proposed here assumes that both the culturalist viewpoint and the structuralist viewpoint are 11both correct, both and 12 complementary to one another. 11 The proposed theory maintains that, when both viewpoints are combined as an operating whole, a fuller more dynamic picture of the poor, their predicament and their responses will emerge. To bring about this union, three elements must be understood. They are: individual behavior, culture, and the structural constraints of society. Poverty, as I will examine it, contains each of these distinct elements and contains their interactions. To better convey this view the following diagram is offered. Figure 3.1 The Poor Individual and Society: Interactions Larger society which contains the dominant culture & its structurial constraints Culture I the individual page 20


I I I I I !_ (, i : I j ; I c_ I I 1 l i_ _I (__I I ': I I !__,_. ; I ' ' ' I __ -' ' I : ) I l _j Chapter 3 Part of the difficulty of working with these elements is demarcating the definitions of each. While it is apparant that there are distinct boundaries between each of these, defining where one begins and another ends inevitably leads to some grey areas. Therefore, I will first distinguish between culture, individual behavior and the structural constraints of society, and then proceed to describing the propsed theory. Distinguishing between individual behavior and culture, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckholm note: Whether behavior is to be included in culture remains a matter of dispute. The behavior in question is of course the concrete behavior of individual human beings, not any collective abstraction. The two present authors incline strongly to exclude behavior as such from culture. This is on two grounds. First, there also is human behavior not determined by culture, so that behavior as such cannot be used as a differentiating criterion of culture. Second, culture being basically a form or pattern or design or way, it is an abstraction from the concrete human behavior, but is not itself behavior. Behavior is of course a pre-condition of culture; just as the locus or residence of culture can only be in the human individuals from whose behavior it is inferred or formulated. It seems to us that the inclusion of behavior in culture is due to confusion between what is a pre-condition of culture and what constitutes culture. 13 For our purposes then, individual behavior will be considered the to culture and culture will be considered to be a continual byproduct of collective individual behavior. In addition, usage of the terms, culture and subculture, will be made on the basis of the aggregate level of collective individual behavior and the distance from the original individual behavior. As such, culture and subculture are not viewed as entirely distinct, but rather as differences on a continuum of societal aggregation. This continuum extends from the individual on one end to the mass of individuals, who make up society, on the other end page 21


I I 0 l -( I i J I (_; I l_. . I I l_ I I I I I -I Chapter 3 Society serves as the most inclusive conception, while the individual serves as the most exclusive. The various aggregations of individuals that occur from one end of the spectrum to the other are the result of many things be they genetic or environmental. It is through the interactions of individual behavior and societal institutions {effectively our social environment), that the various levels of culture emerge. It is through this 14 interaction that culture continually operates and remains adaptive. In distinguishing between culture and society, Charles Valentine's statement embraces some important points: Culture in this sense has come to mean, most simply, the entire way of life followed by a people. The bearers of a culture are understood to be a collectivity of individuals such as a society or a community. One important implication of this formulation is that culture and society are not the same, though of course they are closely related. The cultural patterns that shape the behavior of people in groups should not be confused with the structure of.institutions or social systems, even though each is obviously dependent on the other. 15 . While culture is derived from collective individual behavior, the same is not always true of the societal structure. While culture is necessarily representative of its members by definition, the structural constraints of society are not necessarily representative and can be entirely external as in the case of the physical environment or foreign as in the case of a conquered nation. For the urban poor, the structure of these societal institutions and systems effectively makes up their environment. The distinctions between these elements are more than physical, they are operational. Each element has a distinct mode of operating. In terms of individual behavior, this theory maintains that each individual has his/her own subjective reality through which they perceive the world. Each individual judges the surrounding environment or the page 22


1 1 ; '-' \ '-;-: I I I I I .l : \ i J '---I I I i ( ) I I L', \ i i I. Chapter 3 structural conditions of society and his/her chances for success in their endeavors. It is upon this basis that actions are based. Felice Perussia notes: The premise of such an analysis is found in the Gestalt tradition, the phenomenological approach to perception, and the cognitive approach to a subjective representation of reality. This latter approach is qualified with the fact that the environment is not an objective reality to humans, but rather is what one can subjectively perceive. This can contribute to a representation of one's own habitat that may be useful in terms of adaptation.16 Determining what an individual's subjective perception is and what it is based on is very difficult and at best only be inferred at this point. Some of the research that has focused on the contrasts between individual aspirations, experiences and expectations is indicative of the subjective processes. Patricia Gurin's observations of the labor market experiences and expectations between black and white males and females are consistant with a society with racial and sexual biases. The data indicated that being white and male presented fewer obstacles than any of the other combinations. In effect, this group's perceptions of its situation and its expectations for the future remained open and more optimistic. For the other three groups, this was not thecase. In varying degrees, each commented on some level of interference and in turn held scaled down 17 expectations. Even more illustrative of how sensitive individual perceptions can be to changing structural constraints is Ruth Chavez and Albert Ramirez's research, which compares the levels of aspiration and expectations between employed and unemployed Chicanos. The results indicate no difference between the aspirations of the two groups, but the aspiration-page 23


\ I ; I i i t ,_ I I I_ \ i ; I i i 1 I I \ I ' 1 \ I I Chapter 3 expectation discrepancy was greater among the unemployed than the employed. For the unemployed, significant differences were found between aspirations and expectations in the areas of job advancement, job independence, job security, and job income; the employed differed on job independence and job income. [They conclude that] the nature of the present situation, however, did affect job expectations, so that the more negative the situation the lower the expectation of achieving occupational aspirations. 18 It becomes apparent from the two studies that individual behavior responds accordingly to societal constraints and situational realities. It can only be expected that when constraints and harsh realities affect not only particular individuals, but particular groups of individuals that the collective behavior of these individuals would respond in similiar ways. Hence, this is one manner in which individual behavior aggregates as collective behavior, and finally, appears as a form of culture. In terms of culture, the theory maintains that one of the fundamental functions of culture is as a mediator between the environment or the structural conditions of society and the individual. Consider Cohens comments on the functioning of culture: Culture is mans most important instruments of adaptation. A culture is made up of the energy systems, the objective and specific artifacts, the organization of social relations, the modes of thought, the ideologies, and the total range of customary behavior that are transmitted from one generation to another by a social group and that enable it to maintain life in a particular habitat. .The evolution of mans adaptations, as embodied in his cultures, is one of themes that lend coherence and continuity to his historical 19 Valentine also points out in his discussion that, "through culture, men collectively adapt themselves to environmental conditions and histori20 cal circumstances... Or in a study of assimilation differences between Armenians and Japanese in Los Angeles, Sheila Henry concludes: page 24


,I I i .._. ' I l L.-' : I ,, ' 'i __ ,l '--. 1 ;, \ l i : -.,. i Chapter 3 In effect, the outcome of majority-minority relations . is directly related to the degree of resistance which the host society offers to penetration of its social and economic structure by the minority. The greater their resistance, the longer is the minority group likely to retain its ethnic identity. It is within these boundaries that its survival lies. 21 Given a non-open society, a cultural group will most often respond by strengthening its culture as a defense, but given an open-society, the same cultural group will most often be weakened as assimilation takes place. Culture needs to be understood as both adaptive and responsive to the societal structure as well as insulating its individual members from the same societal structure when it may be necessary. In terms of the structural constraints of society, this theory maintains that they are analogous to the environment. To better clarify this point the following examples are offered: discrimination by sex, race, ethnicity; -stratification of society by class; the very operation of capitalism itself; 11full employment.. which takes for granted a given percentage of unemployment for a surplus population of workers; and -a limited opportunity structure, which allows for the operation of a segmented labor market. A case could be made that the environment differs from the societal structural constraints in that the latter are responsive to individual behavior and culture, while the environment would be rather inflexible. For those in poverty, their situation needs to be seen as one of deprivation (both relative and absolute) in societal resources, and as such receive little or no response from the societal structural constraints. The more flexible element, therefore, is culture. Hyman Rodman notes that for the poor individual 11cultural resources, in a sense, come to compensate for 22 his [or her] lack of social and economic resources ... Clearly, these structural elements exist in one form or another, but page 25


I i L-' : _; n r l I ., i __ ,-i_ l I L.! i '.' : : I _. Chapter 3 the problem has been in establishing their relationship to individual and cultural behavior. It is here that the usefulness of the structural viewpoint usually ends, but shouldn't. This interaction is critical to our understanding and needs more examination. Leonard Davidson and David Krachhardt's study of "hard-core work behavior" begins to document this linkage. Their study follows hard-core disadvantaged workers through three distinct job training program environments. The job training program studied was unique in that job placement was an integral part of the program, and gave the participants a positive outlook on the program. As the conditions of the program changed to include less placement opportunities, the participants' outlook toward the program turned negative as well. When the placement opportunities increased again, the participants attitudes toward their training became more positive. Through this study, the authors were able to examine the same population in a changing structural environment. Their conclusion is such: Trainee reactions to the extreme changes in the TOP program structure indicate that the behavioral patterns of the disadvantaged minority employees are closely tied to situational realities. These findings provide evidence that in regard to the world of work, the impact of the minority individual's personality has been overstated and misunderstood in the culture of poverty literature. Rather than viewing motivational states as permanent parts of the individual's personality their adaptive nature should be emphasized. 23 The correalation between the "situational realities" and the adaptive response of the workers seems only natural. page 26


' I t ; \ l l "!..., .. L l : ..... __ L_, : I '---' Chapter 3 Consolidation and Integration As a entire paradigm, individual behavior, culture, and the structural constraints of society fit together into a working whole, that operates in this fashion: The inequitable nature societal distributional system creates poverty. The structural constraints of society operate to maintain the societal imbalance in poverty. 'The poor experience the constraints of the system, and not being able to change the societal system, make individual behavioral adaptations to better enable their survival][ the system. As these adaptations aggregate at the group level, they appear as subcultural shifts from the dominant culture. Perhaps the most unique element in this perspective is its breadth. It encompasses the wider society, its culture, its structure, while simultaneously acknowleging the individual's behavioral and subcultural responses and interactions. The difficulty comes when there is conflict between the dominant society and the individual or subgroup. In this instance, the two are no longer in agreement and some form of response becomes necessary. John Berry notes that there are three forms of mediation 24 for this conflict. They are adjustment, reaction and withdrawal. Berry distinguishes them as so: In the case of adjustment, behavioural changes are in a direction which reduces the conflict (that is, increases the congruence) between the environment and the behaviour by bringing the behaviour into harmony with the environment. In general, this variety is the one most often intended by the term adaptation and may indeed be the most common form of adaptation. In the case of reaction, behavioural changes are in a direction which retaliates against the environment; these may lead to environmental changes which, in effect, increases the congruence between the two, but not by way of cultural or behavioural adjustment. In the case of withdrawal, behaviour is in a direction which reduces the pressures from the environment; in a sense, it is a removal from the adaptive arena. 25 page 27


, I j ; :.__' ' I '-' i l __ ; ' I \ L Chapter 3 perspective accurately portrays both the poor and society. Also missing from both perspectives is the ability to distinguish between the causes of poverty and the poors adaptations to poverty, which are symptomatic. Since each perspective contains some merits, I believe that they could work more effectively together. The combination that I propose rests on the linkage that the poor continually adapt to the conditions imposed upon them by society. Hence, poverty stems from the structure of society. Since a primary _function of society is replicate itself and maintain the status quo, the poor are put in a primarily reactive position. Therefore, the poor individual and the subculture exihibit behavior that is adaptive and stems from the presence or absence of conflicts and/or constraints imposed by the wider society. page 29


---' ' 1 I I ' ' ._; L' ' ! I ' ,___. I J _.' 1 Eames and Goode, p. 72. 2 Chapter 3 Notes William Ryan, Blaming the Victim (New York: Random House, 1976), pp. 21-22. 3 Jeffry H. Galper, The Politics of Social Services (Englewood Cliffs, NJ.:Prentice-Hall, Inc.,-r975), p. 121: 4 Oscar Lewis, La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty, San Juan and New YOrk (New York: Random House, xlii-lTf. -5---------Eames and Goode, p. 73. 6 Marx, p. 809. 7 Eames and Goode, p. 75. 8 David M. Gorden, Theories of Povert and Unemployment: Orthodox, Radical, and Dual Labor Market Perspectives Lexington, MA.: D.C. Heath and Company, 1972T,'"p. 43. 9 Ibid., p. 46. 10 A. Dale Tussing, Dual Economy (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., 1975), p. 106-107. 11 Harrell Rodgers, Poverty Amid Plenty (Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1979), p. 40-46. 12 Hyman Rodman, "The Lower Class Value Stretch," Social Forces (vol. 42, December 1963), p. 28. 13 Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhold, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), p. 305. 14 Adaptive culture is defined as "Those culture traits and complexes that represent an adjustment of the nonmaterial culture, particularly the values and norms regulating social and institutional life, to the material culture. For example, the norms, values, and patterns of social roles that developed because of the interaction and the spread of the automobile form part of the adaptive culture. The adaptive culture may not necessarily lead to a perfect adjustment." From George Theodorson and Achilles Theodorson, Modern Dictionary of Sociology (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1969), p. 96. 15 Charles A. Valentine, Culture of Poverty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), p. 3. 16 Felice Prussia, "Su Alcune Questioni Teoriche Intema di Ecologia Soggetiva," Abstract in Psychological Abstracts, ed. Lois Granick (Arlington, VA.: American Psychological Association, vol. 70, no. 5, page 30


, __ J i __ . ___ ) November 1983), p. 1282. 17 Chapter 3 Also see quote in chapter 4 on page 42 by Patricia Gurin, 11Labor Market Experiences and Expectancies, .. Sex Roles (vol. 7, no. 11, November 1981). 18 -Ruth Chavez and Albert Ramirez, 11Employment Aspirations, Expectations, and Attitudes Among Employed and Unemployed Chicanos, .. Journal of Social Psychology (119, February 1983), p. 144. --19 Yehudi Cohen, Man in Adaptation (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1968), p. 1. -20 Valentine, p. 5. 21 Sheila Henry, Cultural Persistance and Socio-Economic Mobility (San Francisco: Rand E Research Associates, Inc., 1978), pp. 8-9. 22 Rodman, p. 214. 23 Leonard Davidson and David Krackhardt, 11Structural Changes and the Disadvantaged, .. Human Organization (vol. 36, no. 3, Fall 1977), p. 308. 24 Valentine, p. 129. 25 John W. Berry, Human Ecology and Cognitive Style (New York: Sage Publications, 1976), p. 14. 25 ibid. 26 Elliot Liebow, Tally's Corner (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1967), p. 222. page 31


'---.. __ : i J '-! ' '---1 i I ; I L-' l : I Chapter 4 Data, Methodology, and Hypothesis The proposed theory emphasizes the connection between the structural conditions and individual/group behavior. It is through this connection that the cultural and structural theories are united, and therefore, the tests will focus on this connection The primary question to be investigated is whether or not individual behavior, and hence culture, remain adaptive. In chapter 3, Oscar Lewis states his belief that individual behavior and the culture are no longer simply adaptive, but ingrained and socially transmitted. If this is true, the adaptive relationship between structural conditions and individual/group behavior would be historical and irrelevant to current policy. However, 1f Leonard Davidson and David Krackhardts research is true, individual behavior and culture remain adaptive. If true, this would be particularly important in the planning of social policy and programs. To evaluate this connection, one of the simpler methods would be to change the structure of society. Then we could study the behavior of individuals and groups to determine if there is a relationship, what kind of relationship, and the strength of that relationship if it exists. However, since we lack the capability to do just that, an smaller experimental surrogate will be employed for the purpose of indirectly evaluating this connection. The surrogate will be a data file from the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment (SIME/DIME), which has been obtained on computer tape. I believe that the structure of SIME/DIME and the contents of the data present an good opportunity to explore the changes in individual/group behavior as they respond to the structural differences in the program. page 32


I '--' Chapter 4 About SIME/DIME SIME/DIME was an experiment sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services {formerly the Department of Health Education and Welfare) to test the concepts of a guaranteed annual income and negative income tax. The experiment was the last in a series of four income maintenace experiments, that had been carried out in New Jersey and Indiana. SIME/DIME differed from its predecessors in that it was designed to be more complete than any of the prior experiments. 11SIME/DIME was the largest of the four experiments--indeed larger than the other three combined--and lasted for the longest period of time.11 11For this reason, its 1 results can be viewed with the most confidence. 11 The experiment was carried out by Stanford Research Institute, (SRI), and Mathmatica, Inc. of Princeton, which were under contract from the States of Washington and Colorado. Mathmatica, because of its experience with the earlier experiments, was responsible for the adminstration of the program, and SRI handled 11design, operation and research evaluation of the 2 experiment11 The Seattle portion of the experiment began in 1970 and the Denver portion followed in 1972 as the need arose for a second city that was comparable to Seattle, but was not suffering from the recession as seriously. The experiment closed in June of 1979, and the final report was issued in May of 1983. The population enrolled in the experiment consisted of Blacks, Whites, and Chicanos. The latter were enrolled only in Denver. The following quotation from the SIME/DIME Final Report further describes the population: The sample comprised 2,031 families headed by a single adult and 2,769 families headed by a couple (some of whom were childless). . .Although SIME/DIME was a welfare-type program, only a third of the families selected were at the time enrolled in the major welfare page 33


' i ,_ I l : (_) program, AFDC, [Aid to Families with Dependent Children]. Most of the families were working families who may have been receiving payments under some other transfer programs, such as public housing, Food Stamps, or unemployment insurance, but were not generally considered welfare families. 3 Chapter 4 These experimental families were tested against 11 different Negative Income Tax (NIT) treatments for 3, 5, and a planned 20-year period. The 11 different treatments were combinations of different guarantee levels and diiferent tax rates. They are described in the following excerpt from the SIME/DIME Final Report: SIME/DIME tested three guarantee levels and four tax schedules, combined in such a way as to provide 11 negative income plans in all. The three guarantee levels were $3,800, $4,800, and $5,600 (1971 dollars), respectively. These correspond to 95%, 120%, and 140% of the official poverty line ($4,000 in 1971 dollars). These percentages were preserved throughout the experimental period by adjusting the dollar guarantee levels regularly according to increases in the Consumer Price Index, as is the poverty line itself. The dollar guarantee levels varied with family size, with larger families qualifying for higher guarantee levels under a given NIT plan. In the three previous income maintenance experiments only constant tax rates were tested, i.e. tax rates that remain the same for every level of family income below the breakeven. SIME/DIME tested to two constant tax rates: 50% and 70%. In addition to constant tax rates, SIME/DIME also tested two declining tax rate schedules. These rates were 80% and 70%, respectively, for the first $1,000 of nonexperiment income and then declined by 5% for each additional $1,000 of nonexperimental income. 4 For the purposes of this thesis, the entire population will be used in the analysis. However, I will use only the 3 and the 20-year experimental groups, because I believe that the 17 year difference will provide clearer results. In addition, I will ignore the 11 different NIT treatments, as was also done in the Final Report. The SRI researchers discovered that because of an error in distributing the population among the treatments the results are largely useless. They explain: page 34


I I \_ One of the difficulties in drawing inferences from the results. .is that the distribution of income differs across the various treatments. Because economic theory indicates the response varies with income, comparison of the responses across the various treatments is not really meaningful because income characteristics of the population are not held constant (the design model tended to allocate higher income families to the more generous treatments and vice versa). Hence, the differences dont measure pure treatments effects for identical populations. 5 Chapter 4 The basis of the comparison in this thesis will be between the 3 and the proposed 20-year treatment. While those families, who were transferred to the 20-year treatment, were disenrolled with everyone else at the termination of the experiment in 1979, for the length of the experiment they believed that they were to be enrolled for the next 20 years. In addition to the NITs tested, a labor counseling and training component was tested and the effects upon marital and familial stability were studied. But as pointed out by Robert Spiegleman of SRI, the purpose of the experiment was to study work behavior. The overall purpose of the experiment was to measure the labor supply response to a negative income tax. Since the main behavioral response expected was a reduction in the amount of labor supplied, HEW was interested in testing whether certain supply side treatments might mitigate this negative response. It was decided therefore, to test a second treatment as well--a labor market counseling and education training option. With respect to this treatment also, the primary interest was in labor supply response. The principal design concern, therefore, was to optimize the ability of the experiment to measure changes in labor supply. 6 An important advantage of SIME/DIME is the fact that it was construc ted as an experiment, rather than simply as a monitored program. In addi tion to the experimental group, a control group was maintained for compari son. Great efforts were extended to follow individuals-from the beginning page 35


Chapter 4 of the experiment to the end to retain them in the experiment. All this enhances the quality of the data gathered. The primary advantage of SIME/DIME is that it allows evaluation of the the theorized linkage between the cultural and structural perspectives. SIME/DIME essentially provided the same financial programs to all groups for two very different time spans. Therefore, It is possible to compare for differences between individuals and between programs. In terms of limitations, it must be remembered that SIME/DIME was not created for the purposes intended here. Therefore, as with all secondary data, variables are used to evaluate hypotheses for which they were not created. Sometimes with success and other times not. Invariably some information that is pertinant to this investigation was not of concern to SIME/DIMEs creators, and therefore is absent. Varia bles that would offer some measure of culture are important to the theory, but no information was gathered. Therefore, their relationship and influence can only be inferred. Methodology For the purposes of examining the following hypotheses, the F-test was chosen as the primary tool for analyzing inter-group differences for a variety of reasons. First, the theory specifies that a group of independent variables are operating rather than a single variable, therefore the analysis requires a technique that can handle multiple independent variables. Second, there is no indication that there exists a linear relationship between the independent and dependent variables, therefore, a technique such as multiple regression analysis must be avoided. Third, and perhaps the most limiting, the data are of two different types. The independent variables are on the whole nominal and the dependent variables page 36


' I Chapter 4 are ratio. Therefore, comparing the two requires non-parametric techniques. For these reasons, a technique known as Analysis of Variance, (ANOVA), was chosen. ANOVA, which exists as a separate subprogram in the Statistcal Package for the Social Sciences, (SPSS), operates non-parametrically to compute the group means, sum of squares, group interactions, F-statistics, degrees of freedom, Pearson multiple correlation coefficient and the percentage of variance accounted for by the independent variables. In general, Anova compares the means and the corresponding variances of two or more groups, and gives us the probability that they could be from different groups and the amount of variance they account for. This is used for all tests where the degree of relatedness is in question. Variables The independent variables consist of the participants sex, marital status, race, age and education level. Six initial variables were selected as dependent variables. Three involve actual work behavior and the other three reflect desired work status. The variables are: actual total earnings for the 6 month period, (earnings); actual total hours worked for the 6 month period, (thrs); actual average weekly hours worked on the middle week of the period, (ahrwk); desired number of hours of work per week while working, (dehrw); desired number of hours of work per week while unemployed,(dehru); and desired number of hours of work per week on the middle week of the period, (dehrm). It was not deemed feasible to use all six variables throughout the analysis. This decision was based on two points. First, several of the variables are reiterative of the same information, but only report the information in a different form. Second, since the forms of measurement vary, comparison becomes unnecessarily confusing and complicated. There fore, for the analysis of the hypotheses, average number of hours of work page 37


: 1 Chapter 4 i I _,__ : I i I I : i ,l I I per week on the middle week of the period, {ahrwk), and desired number of hours of work per week on the middle week of the period, (dehrm), were selected to represent the actual and desired hours of work, respectively. I feel that, of the six, these two variables were the most analagous to each other. In addition, I feel that they were the most easily understood be cause they report the hours of work on a weekly basis, rather than a sixmonth basis. The variables were selected in an attempt to capture both actual behavior and subjective intentions. The SRI researchers acknowledge that the two aspects are not always congruent. Because of realities such as a fixed forty hour work week or temporary unemployment or national recession, it is necessary to look at work behavior in terms of both what was actual and what was desired. Hypothesis Essentially through the following hypothesis, I will test for the presence of adaptive behavior among the participants of SIME/DIME as the participants are exposed to the 3-year and the 20-year experiments. I feel that since the time span of the experiments differed so dramatically, the program structures represented different levels of security and opportunity to the participants. Therefore, the participants will adjust for these changes in security and opportunity, and we will be able to see these 7 changes through their work behavior. Throughout all levels of the continium from no security and opportunity to complete security and opportunity, I assume that individuals and families will, to best of their abilities, utilize their resources or 8 opportunities to their advantage. I hypothesize, therefore, that changes page 38


i i I l__ I J 1 ( I I I : I : I I ' i i i I i --! -j ( : ; I i f I -1 Chapter 4 in status such as being in the experiment versus the control group, or in the 3-year versus the 20-year experiment will each provide different opportunities in which this adaptive linkage can be seen and distinguished. The null hypothesis is: 1) There is no difference in work behavior between the 3-year experimental group and the control group. 2) There is no difference in work behavior between the 20year experimental group and the control group. 3) There is no difference in work behavior between the 3-year experimental group and the 20-year experimental group. The alternative hypothesis is: 1) There is a difference in work behavior between the 3-year experimental group and the control group. 2) There is a difference in work behavior between the 20year experimental group and the control group. 3) There is a difference in the work behavior between the 3-year experimental group and the 20-year experimental Significance Level = .05 In addition to testing the hypothesis, I will speculatively describe the relationship between the groups and, in some instances, the subgroups. The rest of this chapter is a narrative of the alternative hypothesis, my reasoning and speculations. The first part of the hypothesis focuses on the participants in the 3-year experiment and compares them with the control group. First, I assume that the 3-year experiment offers more security and, hence, possibly more opportunity than their pre-existing system does. But, because of the short length of time of this subsidy, I feel that the participants' opportunity and ability to make significant changes is limited. Therefore, since financial support is offered and there are no penalties for reducing page 39


( I_ ( ( I \ '--' I { i L_ --; I )_) ) L, I ; I 1_: I I i ', L ;_I ., I L_ I' ; l ___ I I ' __ : I i ,_ Chapter 4 individual hours of work, individuals and families can best take advantage of the program by reducing their hours of work. Therefore, I hypothesize that the mean number of work hours of the participants in the 3-year group will be lower than the mean for the control group, and that the difference will be statistically significant at or below the five percent level. I suggest that the length of the 3-year program will be insufficient to affect a positive change in the opportunity structure. The participants will be left with few alternatives. Davidson and Krachhardt's findings are indicative of a similiar response and the mechanisms that I suspect to operate: The present analysis indicated that both the social and the technical environment had to be viewed as worthwhile or trainees would significantly limit their work effort. Below the surface of many black males confined to secondary labor market jobs, there appears to be a boiling desire to advance. This desire is suppressed due to the limited opportunity structure encountered, but when allowed expression it is a powerful force. 9 In terms of the degree of the reduction in work hours, I suspect the mechanism illustrated by Davidson and Krackhardt is not totally free in its operation. I suspect that something else operates, which restrains the majority of individuals from taking complete advantage of the program by not working at all. This mechanism will restrain the reduction of work hours to an "appropriate" level. This sense of "appropriate" is largely a reflection of the individual's perception of what is culturally appropriate for him/her. The question of what is the norm or what is "appropriate" for a particular group needs to be addressed because of its inherent vagueness. Given the fact that the experiment began in 1970 in Seattle and 1972 in page 40


I I I i ( i i I L! / ; I I \ I I ; L _; '! i j I -I ,I I : I 1_) I , I I_! Chapter 4 Denver and at that time the average age of those enrolled was 33, certain patterns might be expected to be dominant. Largely this translates into some broad (and possibly erroneous) conceptions that men should work fulltime, wives with children should be primarily homemakers and secondly wageearners (indicating part-time or less), and single females with children, who lack the additional wage-earner, will need to work part-time or greater. Therefore, I speculate that the overall reduction in work hours made by the participants, when compared with the control group will be less than twenty percent of the divergences between what is appropriate between the various groups, I expect there to be differences between males-females, single-married individuals, and childless individuals-parents. These differences most probably will be scaled with White males on the top and single minority females on the bottom of the stratication. The second part of the hypothesis focuses on the differences in work behavior between the 20-year experimental group and the control group. As with the 3-year group, it is necessary to demonstrate the difference between the two groups and the adaptiveness of the experimental group to its new circumstances. In addition, I suspect that the 20-year experimental group may still be experiencing a work disincentive effect. Therefore, I suspect that the mean hours of work per week for the 20-year experimental group will be lower than it is for the control group. However, I believe that for certain subgroups there may be an actual increase in the mean number of hours of work over the hours of the control group. These in creases I expect will be stratified according to opportunity with White males at the top and minority single female heads at the bottom of the stratification. The third part of the hypothesis focuses on the differences between page 41


I j '----' I : . I ( I l I ' I j __ t _I ) ,. I ; ; J Chapter 4 held. Both groups of women thus held lower expectancies about jobs that already pay less than the jobs held by White men. Black men likewise expressed lower employment expectancies for lower paying jobs. If salary and quality of jobs currently held by the four groups had been equated, the expectancy edge of White men would be even more pronounced. 10 The following chapter will examine the hypothesis and speculations in light of the data from SIME/DIME. The hypothesis and speculations will be examined in the same order as here to avoid unnecessary confusion. page 43


{ ,I I i r I I i .._I I ' "1 ; ' I ..__; ) LJ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Chapter 4 Notes Final Report of the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), p. 1. ibid.' p. v. ibid. pp. 26-27. ibid. p. v. ibid.' p. 128. ibid.' p. 11. Even though the 20-year experiment was not allowed to run its full course, the participants were told, and believed, that it would until the spring of 1979. Therefore, I believe that the data on the 20-year partici pants behavior retains its validity. 8 Rather than just in economic terms, I interpret advantage in the integrative sense that the individual and the family are known to exist. In this sense, individual self-esteem, values, conflicts, et cetera, interact with financial concerns such as rent, medical bills, and daycare. It is with these other elements in mind that advantages, which are common to the members of the various groups coalesce into a group behavior, despite the individual differences that remain. 9 Davidson and Krachhardt, pp. 308-309. 10 Gurin, p. 1086. page 44


' l__l 1 ', L __ f ; t ; ' I_; I \._' \_'; i : 1, __ ) longer than the 5 years the experimental group was observed. 3 Chapter 5 Some important points that need to be highlighted from this are that the 2 year difference in program length appears very significant with husbands, somewhat so with wives, and not so with single female heads. Yet, the rank order in this stratification is as would be expected. Even though these are 4 reductions, men be would expected to have more opportunity than women. Likewise, married women with children would be expected to have more opportunity and security than would single women with children. Clearly, there are fewer constrictions on the males than their female counterparts. Differences in adjustment time are reflective of differences in the opportunity structure. The SRI researchers also report that the adjustment time is longer than 5 years for single female heads. How long they don't know; would 10 years be enough time or would even 20? The question makes apparent the fact that life changes for those in poverty are not quick changes. In fact they are slow and much more arduous than they appear, the phenomenon of 5 "churning" is evidence of the that goes on. Even if one had a plan for pulling oneself up by the proverbial bootstraps, implementation time could easily be in the 10 year range. What's even more frightening is that at any time individual plans can be upset by unexpected macro-and micro-economic shifts, bringing the achiever back to square one. Together these two facts suggest that both program length and group opportunity levels arr. related to work behavior. In a comparison between the 3 and 20-year families, the researchers reveal that: Estimates suggest that during the first 3 years of the 20-year program, husbands and wives did not reduce their labor supply relative to comparable control families. This is in direct contrast to evidence presented for 3-and 5-year husbands and page 46


' -. I :____; ..__: I < -__ ; \ I I ll.__, 1 r I : '-; I wives. We are unable to offer a convincing explanation why the findings for 20-year husbands and wives differ so dramatically from the responses of the 3-and 5-year husbands and wives. 6 Chapter 5 Clearly, there doesnt seem to be a linear relationship from the 3 to the 5 to the 20-year program. Rather at first there is a continued decline from the 3 to the 5 year program. But to the 20-year there is an increase, which suggests that there may be a breaking point somewhere in between the 5 and the 20. However, because we jump from a 5-year program to a 20-year program there is no telling at what point the program length is strong enough relative to its cofunction, group opportunity, to swing a negative response to a positive response for a particular group. But it would appear that somewhere in that gap of time it did happen for husbands and probably soon therafter for wives. No such shift has been found by the researchers among the single female heads, indicating two possibilities. One, even though the program length is sufficient, this group makes changes so slowly that the change had not occurred in the first 3 years. Hence it has yet to become apparant. Or two, subjectively, what a period of 20-years represents for this group is deemed insufficient to make changes. Even though the single female heads of households make changes slower than huusbands and wives, it seems likely that a relationship exists for all three groups between their work behavior and the experimental program to which they are assigned. Evidence of the relationship is presented in the following analyses. Part One The first part of the hypothesis investigates whether the number of hours worked per week by the 3-year experimental group differed from the control group. The null hypothesis expects there to be no difference, and the alternative hypothesis expects there to be a significant difference. As page 47


I : 0 'o 0 i --' i i -J Chapter 5 the results in table 5.1, there is a significant difference in the number of hours worked per week by the two groups. Therefore, I reject part one of the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis. variable Table 5.1 F-Test Results for Part One 3-Year Experimental Group and Control Group level of Signif. F-value grand mean Control mean 3-year mean ----------------------------------------------------------------actual desired .000 .001 18.817 11.262 20.50 24.75 22.53 26.30 19.71 24.14 In addition, I speculated that those participating in the 3-year experiment will deliberately reduce the number of their hours of work, primarily because they are not being offered any significant change in opportunity. In table 5.2, the averages for the control and 3-year experimental groups are compared. Table 5.2 Comparison of 3-year Experimental & Control Subgroups By Sex, Race & Marital Status ave ave % absol. race variable control exper. change change ----------------------------------------------------------------husbands black actual 33.05 31.30 -5.3 -1.75 desired 37.48 37.27 -0.6 -0.21 chicano actual 38.29 -13.8 -5.29 desired 43.05 39.90 -7.3 -3.15 white actual 35.39 32.91 -7.0 -2.48 desired 39.65 38.43 -3.0 -1.22 ---------------------------------------------wives black actual 16.64 14.52 -12 0 7 -2.12 desired 19.71 18.73 -5.0 -.98 chicano actual 8.32 8.35 .4 .03 desired 9.60 9.71 1.1 .11 white actual 11.45 9.17 -19.9 -2.28 desired 13.84 11.13 -19.6 -2.71 page 48 'f


"c... __ .: I ( I ._ i I I ,..__ Chapter 5 ---------------------------------------------single black actual 18.17 16.23 -10.7 -1.94 female desired 23.83 22.98 -3.6 -.85 heads chicano actual 23.31 15.59 -33.1 -7.72 desired 25.07 18.79 -25.0 -6.28 white actual 20.11 16.39 -18.5 -3.72 desired 24.23 20.05 -17.3 -4.18 As suspected, the experimental group averages less than the control group. This occurs in terms of both actual and desired hours in every instance, except in the case of the Chicano wives, where slight increases occur (.03 & .11 of an hour). However, this group has the lowest actual, as well as desired, number of hours per week. Whatever fractional increases do occur for this group, do little to change their relative position, and I believe, are unconvincing of a positive experimental effect. The overall effect, therefore is a negative one, as was suggested. In terms of the reductions in the hours of work, I suggested that they would not be drastic and that the amount of the reductions would be constrained to "appropriate levels". As can be seen from table 5.2, the reductions average 1 to 3 hours per week, hardly drastic. If we examine the means for the 3 year groups, we see that husbands are actually working about 8 hours on average less than than full-time. In addition, their desired hours average to just slightly less than the normative 40 hours per week. While the experiment has a definite disincentive effect on working, it is apparent that the 3-year experimental group of husbands are not straying too far from what would be considered the societial norm. The actual means for these groups, as shown in table 5.2 above, are not that far off from these patterns. While the actual number of work hours for these groups is lower than the what I expected the means would be, the desired number of hours of work per week is consistantly closer to the page 49


' ' ' ..____ : \._' Chapter 5 what was expected as the norm. Further examination of the group means show that wives on the average worked about 11 hours a week and only desired about 2 hours more per week. Single female heads actually worked about 16 hours per week and desired slightly over 20 hours per week on average, which is part-time. These results are consistant with with what I suspected would be the norms. An F-test run for the three groups (husbands, wives, single female heads) confirms the fact that means are significantly different (at the .000 level for both actual and desired hours), and that each group tends towards its own means. Despite the disincentive effect, it would seem that each group's means prevailed and were not altered that drastically by the experiment. With these data, there is no way to be certain why this occurred. Since there were no penalties for not working, I suggest that the actual control was internal to the experiment and came from the experiment participants themselves. Whether this was in the form of culture or individual conscience or a combination of both, there is no way to know. page 50


: I ;__ : \ 'j '--i : Chapter 5 Part Two The focus for this part of the hypothesis is to establish whether or not there are differences in number of hours worked per week between the 20-year experimental group and the control group. The null hypothesis states there are none and the alternative hypothesis states that there are differences. The results of the F-test used to evaluate this part of the hypothesis are listed in table 5.3 below. variable actual desired Table 5.3 F-Test Results for Part Two 20-Year Experimental Group and Control Group level of Signif. F-value .028 .249 4.834 1.330 grand mean 22.27 26.73 Control 20-year mean mean 25.77 28.55 21.47 26.31 The results for the second part of the hypothesis are mixed. In terms of actual hours of work per week, the test result of .028 indicates that there are significant differences. Therefore, the null hypothesis is re jected in favor of the alternative hypothesis for the second part. In terms of desired hours of work per week, however, the test result of .249 indicates that there are no significant differences between the two groups. While this result doesnt upset the outcome of the hypothesis, it does suggest that the work disincentive effect on the desire of the 20-year experimental group to work is neglible compared to the disincentive effect experienced by the non-experimental group. In table 5.4, the result for the 20-year experiment are compared with the control group for the first 3 years. As noted earlier for the 3-year experimental group, there is a general overall work disincentive effect. Yet, there are several actual increases by the experimental group over the control group. page 51


: ; : -: '-"";-"' Chapter 5 Table 5.4 Comparison of 20-year Experimental & Control Subgroups By Sex, Race, & Marital Status ave ave % absol. race variable control exper. change change ----------------------------------------------------------------husbands black actual 33.05 30.19 -8.7 -2.86 desired 37.48 38.61 3.0 1.13 chicano actual 38.29 26.58 -30.6 -11.71 desired 43.05 37.00 -14.0 -6.05 white actual 35.39 35.47 .2 .08 desired 39.65 40.91 3.2 1.26 ---------------------------------------------wives black actual 16.64 15.43 -7.3 -1.21 desired 19.71 19.43 -1.4 -.28 chicano actual 8.32 11.09 33.3 2.77 desired 9.60 12.99 35.3 3.39 white actual 11.45 10.57 -7.7 -.88 desired 13.84 12.72 -8.1 -1.12 ---------------------------------------------single black actual 18.17 21.29 17.2 3.12 female desired 23.83 25.38 6.5 1.56 heads chicano actual 23.31 17.84 -23.5 -5.47 desired 25.07 20.57 -17.9 -4.50 white actual 20.11 20.22 .5 .11 desired 24.23 24.00 -.9 -.23 In an examination of the differences between the control group and the 20-year experimental group, I suspected that certain groups would perceive a change in the opportunity structure and respond by increasing their actual and desired hours of work. I further expected that the changes would be stratified rather than equalized across the board. Table 5.5 supports this general trend. But in terms of stratification that I expected, white males on top and black or chicano single female heads of households on the bottom, the results indicate no such pattern. For both actual and desired hours, black single females and chicano wives made the greatest increases. page 52


\ I i : i -__ ... ' Chapter 5 This suggests that the opportunity offered by the 20-year experiment, in terms of financial security, is more significant for these two groups than Table 5.5 Stratification of 20-year Experimental Subgroups By Change in Number of Hours Worked per Week actual -----------------------------black single females 3.12 chicano wives 2.77 white single females .11 white husbands .08 white wives -.88 black wives -1.21 black husbands -2.86 chicano single females -5.47 chicano husbands -11.71 chicano wives black single females white husbands black husbands white single females black wives white wives chicano single females chicano husbands desired 3.39 1.56 1.26 1.13 -.23 -.28 -1.12 -4.50 -6.05 others such as the chicano single females or husbands. The only explanation I have as to why this occurred is that perceiving opportunity is a very subjective process. The factors used probably differ considerably from one group to another. Hence, this results in differing reactions. page 53


i ,. : ._, I '--' Chapter 5 Part Three The third part of the hypothesis tests for differences in average hours of work per week between the 3 and the 20-year experimental groups. The null hypothesis states that there are no differences and the alternative hypothesis states that there are differences. The results shown in table 5.6 indicate that there are significant differences between the two. variable actual desired Table 5.6 F-Test Results for Part Three 3-Year and 20-Year Experimental Groups level of Signif. .004 .007 grand F-value mean 8.252 7.260 20.05 24.46 3-year 20-year mean mean 19.71 24.14 22.54 26.77 Since the test results are well below the .05% significance level, I reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis that there is a significant difference between the number of hours of work per week of the 3 and 20-year experimental groups. In addition, I suspected that the means for the 20-year experimental group would be higher than the means for the 3-year experimental group because the longer program length offered greater opportunity. An examination of the table 5.7 confirms that the means for the 20-year group are consistently higher than the means for the 3-year experimental group. Table 5.7 Comparison of 3-year & 20-year Experimental Subgroups By Sex, Race, & Marital Status race husbands black variable actual desired ave 3-year 31.30 37.27 ave 20-year 30.19 38.61 page 54


' I ' I I ' -' 'Chapter 5 chicano actual 33.40 26.58 desired 39.90 37.00 white actual 32.91 35.47 desired 38.43 40.91 ----------------------------wives black actual 14.52 15.43 desired 18.73 19.43 chicano actual 8.35 11.09 desired 9.71 12.99 white actual 9.17 10.57 desired 11.13 12.72 ----------------------------single black actual 16.23 21.29 female desired 22.98 25.38 heads chicano actual 15.59 17.84 desired 18.79 20.57 white actual 16.39 20.22 desired 20.05 24.00 I have suggested that the shift from the 3-year to the 20-year experiment will not affect every group the same, because the opportunity offered each group is not the same. An examination of table 5.7 verifies this point. Discussing the same phenomenon the SRI researchers note that: In addition to differences in responses by length of treatment, there are also differences in response by race-ethnic group and by site, although few of them are statistically significant. There is weak evidence that blacks and Chicanos have larger responses than whites throughout the experimental period; however, the race ethnic differences for 5-year families are not nearly as great as they are for 3-year families. The lower responses for white husbands, compared to black and Chicano husbands, are somewhat puzzling and we have no convincing explanation for it. In commenting on these findings, Garfinkel (1978) has offered an explanation that appears plausable. He argues that blacks and Chicanos on average have worse labor market opportunities than whites (because of discrimination) and hence respond relatively more to an experimental treatment that increase the attractiveness of not working. 7 I agree with Garfinkels argument that there are differences in labor page 55


. '.__ .. I I ,_ Chapter 5 market opportunites for the racial-ethnic groups, but I would expand the list of discriminators to include sex and martial status. According to the SRI researchers, the race-ethnic differences are less for wives than husbands and still less for single female heads than for wives. One possibility is that the effects of sex and marital status are more constricting than the effects of race-ethnicity and therefore the effects become less apparent as opportunities decrease and other constrictions increase. It is difficult to say for certain. A series of F-tests confirms the existence of differences by sex, marital status and race. All tests proved significant beyond the .05% level, leaving me confident that these differences exist. variable sex variable maritial status variable race Table 5.8 F-Test For Differences By Sex level of F grand Signif. value mean male female actual .000 63.207 21.47 29.34 16.50 desired .000 135.577 26.31 36.93 19.61 Table 5.9 F-Test For Differences by Marital Status level of F grand Sign if. value mean single married actual .000 20.782 16.50 22.11 13.16 desired .000 18.189 19.61 24.85 16.49 Table 5.10 F-Test For Differences by Race level of Signif. actual .001 desired .003 F grand value mean black white chicano 6.885 21.47 21.76 24.22 16.23 5.752 26.31 28.23 27.59 21.25 page._56


' Chapter 5 In addition to the differences expected between the groups, I suggested that there would be a stratification of both actual and desired hours of work. Within both the the group of husbands and the group of single female heads, the stratification was expected to run whites, blacks, chicanos. Only within the group of wives does the stratification change, in terms of actual and desired hours of work, to blacks, whites, chicanos. The stratification is in both cases headed by the white husbands. In terms of actual hours worked, the single white female heads rank second, just top ping the black and chicano husbands. It is interesting to note that even though the average for husbands is significantly higher than for single female heads, the white single females show higher actual hours than the Table 5.11 Stratification of 20-year Experimental Subgroups By Hours of Work per Week white husbands white single females black husbands chicano husbands black single females black wives white wives chicano single females chicano wives actual 34.61 26.50 25.85 25.22 23.96 15.90 12.93 12.02 9.71 white husbands black husbands chicano husbands white single ferns black single females black wives white wives chicano single females chicano wives desired 39.63 35.12 34.54 28.48 27.62 21.50 15.08 14.47 11.94 black or chicano husbands. While in terms of desired hours, the black and chicano husbands averaged 6 to 7 hours of work per week more than the white single females. There appears to be a larger discrepancy between what the black and chicano husbands are able to work and what they say they desire, in comparison to the white single females. This could reflect two things. One, the fact that the husbands were merely indicating a false desire that page 57


, I I I ; I I I ; 1 ' i I \ I I I I I ; ' I : I :_ .: i ' I j_ Chapter 5 is more socially acceptable so as to be closer to the norm. Or two, it could reflect the actual difficulties, (because of racial-ethnic discrimi nation), that these groups are confronted with in reaching their desired hours of work. I am unable to determine with the present data which is the case. In summation, the test results on SIME/DIME substantiate all three points of the alternative hypothesis that the number of hours of work per week will significantly differ according to the experimental group to which individuals are assigned. The individuals are continually capable of evaluating their circumstances and adapting their work behavior accordingly. Since the dynamics and the factors involved in the evaluation process probably vary from group to group, it is not possible to further elaborate on these items. However, it is apparent that some evaluation process, and hence an adaptation process, do take place. Rather than the poor being frozen in their circumstances, the research suggests that it is the circumstances of the poor that are unchanging, and that the poor are ready to respond to new opportunities if they arise. page 58


I I I i I . l I i__ I 1 I I ( 1-., ,- I I ; l ( I I i I I ... . l : l ,_ I I NOTES 1 SIME/DIME Final Report, pp. 122-123. 2 Ibid., p. 124. 3 Ibid., p. 124. 4 Chapter 5 By 110pportunities11, I refer not only to labor market opportunities but also recognize domestic freedoms and constraints, (i.e. having to be home when kids get off from school, to prepare meals, to get the kids off to school, or be present at nights), which may prove equally significant in defining opportunities. 5 Churning is a sharp rising and falling of family income in short periods of time, as gains that are made are washed away to begin anew. It has been noted that 11These big short-term movements are especially pronounced among families close to the poverty line. 11 For more information see 11Making It In America11, Dollars and Sense (July/August 1985): p. 4. 6 -SIME/DIME Final Report, p. 125. 7 Ibid., p. 123. page 59


I __ r I,i I ) l. L_' I l i ) r \ l L_ i I I 1 i { __ l I 1 I I Chapter 6 Conclusions and Implications Poverty, as we know it in this country, is mostly relative material deprivation rather than absolute material deprivation. But both do occur. Poverty in America is caused by the unequal nature of our distributional system. Poverty is not some foreign virus in our society, but it is intrinsic to the structure of our societal system. Understanding the cause of poverty in this manner creates many questions about the nature of anti-poverty programs, social policy, and specifically, our role as planners of anti-poverty social policy. In chart 6.f, John Williamson has explored some possible conclusions and directions 1 that this understanding suggests. Figure 6.1 "Alternative Perspectives From Which To Support Or Oppose Publically Funded Anti-Poverty Efforts11 ARE THE CAUSES OF POVERTY PRIMARILY SITUATIONAL? 1 NO YES IS IT POSSIBLE TO SUB IS IT POSSIBLE TO SUB STANTIALLY REDUCE THE r-.'-STANTIALL Y REDUCE THE EXTENT OF POVERTY WITH EXTENT OF POVERTY WITH 2 ANTiaPOVERTY PROGRAMS? PROGRAMS? to YES NO ARE FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL STAUCTUAALCHANGESRE OUIRED PRIOR TO ANY SUB STANTIAL REDUCTION IN THE 3 EXTENT Of POVERTY? Not YES Will THE EXTENT OF PDV ERTY DECREASE OVER TIME? SUPPORT VESt tND CAN FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL STRUCTURAL CHANGES BE INTRODUCED THROUGH 4 DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EXIST lNG POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEM? 1'40 rES DO ANTIPOVERTY PROGRAMS DECREASE THE REVOLUTION ARY POTENTIAL OF THE POOR? SUPPORT to OPPOSE SUPPORT page 60


i : I I \ ; l I I j -, j i t._: 1 I l l __ .I . I I 'L__. \ I I I I ; ( I '-.-r I f t __ l Chapter 6 The conclusions that I have arrived at so far provide a guide through chart 6.1. First, since the cause of poverty is distributional, the answer to the first question would be that, yes, the causes of poverty are primarily situational. The second question, "is it possible to substantially reduce the extent of poverty with anti-poverty programs?", must also be answered yes. This answer is necessary by virtue of the planner's role as an estab lishment sponsored change agent. The third question, "Are fundamental social structural changes required prior to any substantial reduction in the extent of poverty?", is slightly more problematic. Economists have pointed out that, the United States' high rate of economic growth high has been responsible for avoiding some of the harsh realities of our inequitable system in the past. If possible, should we, as planners, work to maintain the operation of this strategy, despite our understanding of its inequitable basis? Or, loyal to Americans only, should we work to export as much of our poverty as possible to the countries of the third world? These strategies only delay or displace poverty, they do nothing to treat the structural causes. Therefore, structural changes are necessary, and I would answer yes to the third question. Even the strongest culturalist proponent, Oscar Lewis, acknowledges the utility of structural changes: By creating basic structural changes in society, by redistributing wealth, by organizing the poor and giving them a sense of belonging, of power and of leadership, revolutions frequently succeed in abolishing some of the basic characteristics of the culture of poverty even when they do not succeed in abolishing poverty itself. 2 The fourth question, "Can fundamental social structural changes be \ 1 introduced through democratic processes in the context of the existing political and econmic system?", suggests the greatest work for planners. I I I 1 1 I page 61


' i : I : _I I I I I : '---I I '-.--l : i ,_, 'i ' I !_J ' ' ' ,__ \ : i ' Chapter 6 dont feel that there is enough evidence to answer this question one way or another. Those on the left might argue that Americas economic oligarchy is so strong that this is not possible. On the otherhand, those taking a more moderate position might argue that the socialist reforms of the Scandinavian countries proves that changes can be made. I feel that planners and social scientists need to further work in this arena Rather then continue expending valuable time and energy on the debate between cultural and structural perspectives, which are both incomplete, this energy could be better spent investigating and producing change. Before this occurs, however, some agreement on the causes of poverty must be reached. The theory proposed in this thesis is an example that fuses the two perspectives into one. Given a single, sound theoretical basis for anti-poverty programs, the potential is greater for creating more effective programs and structural reforms. The basis of more effective programs does not rest entirely on more elaborate programs, but rather on a clearer understanding of the cause of poverty and a committment to act on this understanding. Elliot Liebow elaborates further on this point: Despite the many differences of opinion about how these things are to be achieved, the real problem lies elsewhere. .What is lacking is not know-how and programs, but a clarity of purpose, of motive, and of intention. What do we want to do, why do we want to do it, and how much are we willing to pay for it (not so much in money but in terms of basic changes in the class and racist structure of our society) remain largely unanswered questions. There are those, for example, who say that what we want to do is eliminate poverty from our national life, but these same people throw their hands up in horror when it is suggested that a guaranteed annual wage would go a long way toward doing just that. Others are more concerned with life styles then with poverty per se. They would use the poverty program to give money, advice, and "enrichment" programs to those among the poor who are willing to adopt (what are presumed to be page 62


l__t : I \ i 'i I ; L , L I I I I I \_.._ ...,_ --I i L' 1, __ \ ( peculiarly) middle-class styles of behavior, and thereby reduce crime, child neglect, etc. Still others would use the poverty program as a carrot-and-stick device to sort out the deserving and the nondeserving poor, giving handouts to one group, making war on the other. There is also abroad the land a concern that we may go too far and upset the relationship between segments of our society which presumably now work together for the good of the whole. This concern is most frequently expressed by those with an immediate vested interest in the availability of a pool of lowskilled labor. 3 Chapter 6 The theory presented here has begun to create some new dimensions and fill in some of the gaps that are conveniently missing from the culturalist and structuralist perspectives. By grounding the theoretical cause of poverty to the distributional system, a perspective exists, which demonstrates how both individual behavior and culture, are adaptive to their environmental structure. This new perspective on poverty surpasses the black and white distinctions that have been the hallmark of modern understanding. It is no longer a case of 11Theyre all lazy no-goods11, nor can we expect to get much mileage from the rhetoric of 11Its all those internation al corporations11 The theory presented here can realistically account for the poors position in society and their struggle with it. The poor make adaptations and create defenses throughout their struggle with society. Frequently in the literature these are referred to as subculture responses. Guiding this process of change and defense are individual perspectives, and hence there is some aggregate group perspective of what is advantageous, what is not, what needs to be acted on, and what needs to be avoided. The final evaluation of any structural reform in our society to remedy poverty therefore rests among the poor and its utility to them. In terms of more effective programs, several things are suggested by the results of this thesis. First, simple as this seems, programs needs to be designed page 63


! I I ' I lL-_; -..___ I ' \ ___ ; .__. \ : I Chapter 6 from the program participant's perspective and possibly with the potential participant's input, which is rarely done. It is impossible to pass off an inadequate program on the program participants, they will always know. Programs based on understanding and committment are needed above all else. Other considerations for improving programs themselves are suggested in the results from SIME/DIME. One point is that the individual perspectives and work behavior of the various sexual, racial and marital groups in SIME/DIME remained distinct. Within the same experimental program significant differences also existed among subgroups. For example, black single female heads of households perceived more opportunity than their married counterparts did. There is a complex perception process through which the individual perceives if an opportunity exists and whether it is for her/him. The data indicates that differences by sex, marital status, race, and ethnicity all play a role, but what exactly that role is, is unclear. Further research potentially offers us the ability to answer these questions and to tailor programs to specific demographic groups. Another point suggested by the SIME/DIME results is that anti-poverty programs need to be long-term. As a society, we prefer the quick-fix miracle cure. Ideally in one fiscal year, we would like to focus on antipoverty measures and eliminate all poverty in time to get the results included in that year's annual report. While this is ludicrous, it is a very real part of how as Americans we want things to operate. Our affluence has accustomed us to instant gratification, and therefore, we have come to expect such timely results. But for those lacking in affluence, the world does not move as fast. The difficulties for the poor imposed by churning, by (re)training and by locating employment puts their changes on a slower time-line. This must be taken into account when designing, funding and page 64


' I I L_ I i Chapter 6 implementing programs for the poor. Another point suggested by the results from SIME/DIME is that the poor are not entirely different from the rest of the society and that their aspirations tend towards societal means. These similarities should not be overlooked or forgotten. The poor, despite whatever subcultural accomodations they have made, remain a part of the dominant societal culture. In terms of work behavior, the dominant culture has societal norms and we have seen that their intent is to stay within these norms. Despite the lack of a penality for dropping out of the labor force for the term of the experiment, the majority of the participant's didn't take this option. However, because we conceive of the poor as so radically different from ourselves, we fear that they would stop working given any financial support. The parallels, between what we suspect the poor do and what we might ourselves like to do, is uncanny. David Macarov, in Incentives to Work, ex plains the phenomenon of scapegoating further: A further characteristic of scapegoating is that one turns on the scapegoat when group or societal considerations inhibit expression of one's own feelings. In the absence of other remedies, the scapegoat becomes a necessary device, siphoning off more violent forms of agression against the restraints on expression or behavior. Consequently, it is possible to see poverty as serving society by performing the scapegoat role. To the extent that men would like to cease work or to work less, and to the extent that this is not regarded as socially permissable, the attribution of laziness to others, who can then be figuratively sent into the desert of ghettos and slums, may be used to siphon off aggressions which would otherwise be used to change the socio-economic system, for better or worse. 4 Rather than focusing on changing the poor, I feel that planners focusing on poverty need to explore the ways in which our political process can be better utilized to bring about change to the structure of our societal page 65


r ', ; ' i l j ' : Chapter 6 system. Reform in America has typically been piece-meal and incremental. As planners from within, can these and other characteristics be harnessed to affect substantial change to the structure? It is my belief that planners, by virtue of their training and their function, cannot ignore the physical or the societal environment. It is our responsibility to analyze and understand our environments as fully as possible. By ignoring societal inequities and operating from incomplete theories, we do ourselves and our work, a disservice. In conclusion, even though we are in the early stages of theory development, it is apparent that the programs created to alleviate the conditions of poverty can be helped immensely by an integrated understanding of the poor. By understanding the position of the poor in our society, how they operate within it, and how they perceive themselves and their situation, we can better serve them and meet their needs. page 66


I _ ___ _,. -Chapter 6 Notes 1 The chart is reproduced from John Williamson,Strategies Against Poverty in America (Cambridge, MA.: Schenkman Publishing Company, Inc., 1975), p. 36. r Lewis, p. 1 i i. 3 Liebow, pp. 226-227. 4 David Macarov, Incentives to Work (San Francisco: Jersey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 1970), p. 36.---page 67


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' I !, I i J : i :.J -_? l I ' c___ Bibliography Miller, Derbert C. Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman Inc., 1983. Mukakkil, Salim. 11Black Familys Ills Provoke New Concern ... .!.!!. These Times, June 12-25, 1985, pp. 5-6. Mumford, Lewis. The City.!!!. History: its Origins, its Transformations, its Prospects. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1961. Norton, Dolores G. The Dual Perspective: Inclusion of Ethnic Minority Content in the Social Work Curriculum. New York: Council on Social Work EducatiOn: Inc., 1978. Norton, Eleanor Holmes. 11Restoring the Traditional Black Family. The New York Times Magazine, June 2, 1985, pp. 43-98. Perussia, Felice. 11Su Alcune Questioni Teoriche Intema di Ecologia Soggetiva.11 Abstract in Psychological Abstracts. ed. Lois Granick. Arlington, VA.: American Psychological Association, vol. 70, no. 5, November 1983, p. 1282. Robbins, Philip K.; Spiegelman, Robert G.; Weiner, Samuel; Bell, Joseph; eds., A Guaranteed Annual Income: Evidence from a Social Experiment. New York: Academic Press, Inc., 1980. ---Rodgers, Harrell R. Poverty Amid Plenty: Political and Economic Analysis. Reading, MA.: Publishing Co., 1979. The Cost of Human Neglect; Americas Welfare Failure. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1982. Rodman, Hyman. 11The Lower Class Value Stretch.11 Social Forces 42, (December 1963}: pp. 205-215. Runyan, William, M. 11A Stage-State Analysis of the Life Course ... Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 38(6), (June 1980): pp. 951-962. Ryan, William. Blaming the Victim. New York: Random House, 1976. Seattle/Denver Income Maintenance Experiment, 1970-78, Documentation. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records, Microfiche M1363, fiche 2-12. Summary Report: The Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment: MidExperimental Labor Supply Results. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, February 1978. Theodorson, George and Theodorson, Achilles. A Modern Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Thomas J. Crowell Company, 1969. Tussing, A. Dale. Dual Economy. New York: St. Martins Press, Inc., 1975 Page 70