The Historical Development of Family Budget Standards in Britain, from the 17th Century to the Present

The Historical Development of Family Budget Standards in Britain, from the 17th Century to the... This article reviews the British tradition of research into household budget standards and describes a rich history of theoretical and methodological innovation in the social sciences. The origins of this enterprise lie in hypothetical family budget calculations made by political arithmeticians investigating living standards in the 1600s. Systematic budget inquiries emerge in England in the 1790s and by the end of the 19th century, normative standards are applied to determine lines of poverty across sections of British society. The first ‘scientific’ study to do this was conducted in England in 1912, local budget surveys flourish here until after the Second World War; by which time poverty researchers were abandoning them, turning instead to the data which was becoming available from national government surveys of family income and expenditure. Towards the close of the century, however, we see researchers trying to escape some of the circularity posed by family spending, which is, after all, constrained by household income. New and competing methods for determining household budget standards emerge before a groundbreaking inquiry attempts to establish a consensus in the field of minimum income standards research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Policy & Administration Wiley

The Historical Development of Family Budget Standards in Britain, from the 17th Century to the Present

Social Policy & Administration, Volume 44 (7) – Dec 1, 2010

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2010 The Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN
0144-5596
eISSN
1467-9515
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-9515.2010.00743.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article reviews the British tradition of research into household budget standards and describes a rich history of theoretical and methodological innovation in the social sciences. The origins of this enterprise lie in hypothetical family budget calculations made by political arithmeticians investigating living standards in the 1600s. Systematic budget inquiries emerge in England in the 1790s and by the end of the 19th century, normative standards are applied to determine lines of poverty across sections of British society. The first ‘scientific’ study to do this was conducted in England in 1912, local budget surveys flourish here until after the Second World War; by which time poverty researchers were abandoning them, turning instead to the data which was becoming available from national government surveys of family income and expenditure. Towards the close of the century, however, we see researchers trying to escape some of the circularity posed by family spending, which is, after all, constrained by household income. New and competing methods for determining household budget standards emerge before a groundbreaking inquiry attempts to establish a consensus in the field of minimum income standards research.

Journal

Social Policy & AdministrationWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2010

References

  • Identifying the poor in the 1870s and 1880s
    Gillie, Gillie
  • The Measurement of Urban Poverty: From the Metropolis to the Nation, 1880–1920
    Hennock, Hennock
  • A minimum income for healthy living
    Morris, Morris; Donkin, Donkin; Wonderling, Wonderling; Wilkinson, Wilkinson; Dowler, Dowler
  • Using Household Expenditure to Develop an Income Poverty Line
    Saunders, Saunders; Bradshaw, Bradshaw; Hirst, Hirst
  • The Meaning of Poverty
    Townsend, Townsend
  • Poverty in Britain today: The evidence
    Wedderburn, Wedderburn

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