Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics

First Advisor

Juan Carlos Lopez

Second Advisor

Markus Schneider

Third Advisor

Chiara Piovani

Fourth Advisor

Daniel Brisson


Economic mobility, Health social inequities, Mass incarceration, Poverty, Poverty measurement, Social institutions


This thesis examines the role of poverty in the United States and how it has impacted social and economic systems. It explores how U.S. poverty measurements developed in the 1960s may not be accurately measuring poverty now, and the ways in which these measures could be improved upon. This work also reviews literature on health and educational inequities stemming from socioeconomic class, and the role these play in long-term economic mobility. Finally, it analyzes how larger social institutions like mass incarceration and capitalism have developed around poverty, and the role they play in maintaining its prevalence today. This thesis finds that systemic barriers to economic mobility play a much larger role in the persistence of poverty than the actions and behaviors of individuals experiencing poverty. Without addressing poverty as such on a political level, poverty will continue to exist and persist in our society.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Abby Magnus


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

134 p.


Social work, Economics