SINCE its founding in 1966, the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has been the inner sanctum of academic research on poverty in America. Under its aegis gather most of the nation’s leading scholars on the subject. Every few years, the IRP holds a conference on the state of poverty and poverty research, and then publishes the papers. Understanding Poverty † is the latest of these volumes. Its editors, Sheldon Danziger and Robert Haveman, are leading economists and former directors of the Institute.