Friday, June 4, 2010

Bums and Inflation

Five bucks in quarters (actually, in any domination) in 1980 has the same purchasing power as $12.85 does in 2009 (you can make your own inflation calculations here).

All else equal, shouldn't there be fewer bums begging for change now (or at least fewer bums per capita), because a cup of coins can't buy as much as it used to? Are some would-be bums now instead getting jobs?

Or are some people giving bums dollar bills now? Are more passers-by likely to part with change now because coins have such trivial value?

Are bums working harder than they did a few decades ago? Are they taking more advantage of free items, such as food from soup kitchens, instead of begging for change and buying these items themselves?


Josh Hattersley said...

The idea that there is necessarily a correlation between the number of panhandlers and the purchasing power of available change donations may have some merit, but it's likely an extremely small facet of a much larger and more complex set of issues contributing to homelessness.