after making adjustments to countable income, concludes that families living near the current poverty line have fewer countable resources than they would have under the current poverty measure.


I dissent because the report's recommendations—to choose three particular commodities upon which to base the calculation of poverty and to exclude other commodities; to establish a normative range of values within which the poverty line should fall; to increase the poverty line over time to account for perceived improvements in the standard of living; and to exclude medical expenses from family resources—are the outcome of highly subjective judgements. These are judgements that do not result from scientific inquiry and, therefore, in my opinion, are improperly placed in this report.

I do not believe that this report will be the basis for improving the measurement of poverty because its recommendations are not based on scientific evidence. To my disappointment, the panel has missed an extraordinary opportunity to enlighten and inform government officials about problems of measuring poverty and about the solutions to those problems.


Grossman, M. 1972 On the concept of health capital and the demand for health. Journal of Political Economy 80(March/April):223-255.

Newhouse, Joseph P. 1972 Free for All? Lessons from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Pauly, M.V. 1968 The economics of moral hazard: Comment. American Economic Review 58:535.

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