Bleg: Child poverty, problem definition and solutions

Hey all.  I see that National has made child poverty a focus of their new term – cool.  Obviously “Child Poverty in New Zealand” has been a persuasive book, and I really need to read and review it here.

This is an issue that is definitely important to consider, which means we need to think carefully about what issues we are looking at addressing, what policy tools there are, and what trade-offs exist when you use them.

I first noticed the National party focus from this tweet:

Followed by this tweet:

Ignore the fact that this is a Labour person trying to claim that they’ve “won” some argument here – in truth this really illustrates to me how poor the “left vs right” divide is at saying anything.  Child poverty and lack of opportunities is an important issue, moving towards restrictions on foreigners buying land is not comparable and not part of the “same agenda”.  We can be internationalists and care about poverty.

Still, I’m getting off tack – I would like you guys to have a crack at stating some of the “problems” and policy “solutions” involved in the space of child poverty.  If you know anyone who has some views on this, would you be able to send this to them and get them to write in the comments.  I’d like to get a bunch of feedback in, and see if we can do a series of posts on the issue.

And in case someone turns up here saying economists don’t care or think about the issue, thereby illustrating they don’t know anything about either me or the economics discipline, read what I said about food in schools.  And take into account that the vast majority of working economists I’ve talked to about that post have said they agree with me.  And further note that economics is the study of trade-offs, we only agree with this policy as the trade-offs involved fit our personal value judgments, so we are more than accepting of disagreement – in that way, please try to come at us with a neutral stance 😉

6 replies
  1. Sam Warburton
    Sam Warburton says:

    What sort of thing are you looking for here? I’d hope MSD had ongoing monitoring of this. Looking for studies, anecdotes, or someone to interview?

    • Matt Nolan
      Matt Nolan says:

      Yar, there are MSD reports and the such – but I was more looking for people’s views. Government reports, like anything that has had too much economist, can miss a bit of “problem definition” – so that is more the area I’m interested in fishing for.

  2. Shamubeel Eaqub
    Shamubeel Eaqub says:

    Matt, the Child Poverty book by Coleman and Chapple is a very good place to start (I havent finished the book yet). FT article on the link between parents and children is helpful. WP story on impact of childhood settings is a good reason why child poverty matters (I have just started reading the book). And the Economist story on Tilbury in the UK shows where you grow up matters.

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