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Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility$
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Marion Crain and Michael Sherraden

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199988488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988488.001.0001

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Economic Security and the American Dream

Economic Security and the American Dream

(p.140) 8 Economic Security and the American Dream
Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility

Mark R. Rank

Thomas A. Hirschl

Oxford University Press

Economic security is a key component of the American Dream. We examine patterns of economic security and insecurity across the life course, including the likelihood that Americans will experience poverty or near poverty, unemployment, the use of a social safety net program, or a combination of all three. We also estimate the likelihood of encountering another indicator of economic insecurity, asset poverty, and consider the probability of owning a home. We conclude that the ability to achieve long-term economic security across the life course has become challenging for many households. These developments threaten a fundamental bargain that is central to the American Dream: that economic security is the reward for hard work.

Keywords:   American Dream, asset poverty, economic security, employment, financial stability, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Great Recession, homeownership, poverty, Second Bill of Rights

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