In the last decade, we have seen that an effective approach to reducing poverty requires changes in personal behavior as well as government support. Further, we have learned that by judiciously applying policies that demand and then reward good behavior -- what might be called carrots-and-sticks policies -- we can induce and maintain the behavior that leads to reduced poverty. Reviewing the record of the past decade suggests the principles that should guide future efforts.
During the 1960s, child poverty fell by more than half, to 14 percent. In the subsequent three decades, however, child poverty drifted upward in an uneven pattern, never again reaching the low level achieved in 1969. This is a surprising and discouraging record.