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Welfare States, Labour Market Institutions and the Working Poor: A Comparative Analysis of 20 European Countries


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  • Henning Lohmann


This paper regards the incidence of in-work poverty and how it is reduced by the payment of social transfers in 20 European countries. It combines a micro- and a macro-level perspective in two-level models. The basis for the analysis is micro-data from the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) 2005 and macro-data from sources such as the OECD and Eurostat. The broad comparative perspective allows for a separation of different institutional influences, namely the influence of the degree of decommodification, defamilisation and bargaining centralisation. In contrast to previous studies on the working poor which have mainly described country differences in in-work poverty, this paper focuses on the question of how such differences can be ex-plained from a broader perspective of poverty research. In general, the results confirm the overall hypothesis that both welfare state measures and labour market institutions have an influence on in-work poverty. By analysing influences on pre-transfer poverty and poverty reduction separately, I show that such factors have varied effects on in-work poverty. While bargaining centralisation proves to be relevant for the distribution of pre-transfer incomes only, the set-up of the social security system in particular im-pacts the extent of poverty reduction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 776.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp776

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Cited by:
  1. Sieds, 2012. "Complete Volume LXVI n.1 2012," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 0(1), pages 1-296.
  2. Jeroen Horemans & Ive Marx, 2013. "In-work poverty in times of crisis: do part-timers fare worse?," ImPRovE Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 13/14, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  3. Ive Marx & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera, 2014. "The Welfare State and Anti-Poverty Policy in Rich Countries," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1403, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  4. Mario Holzner, 2012. "The Determinants of Income Polarization on the Household and Country Level across the EU," wiiw Working Papers, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw 93, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  5. Wim Van Lancker, 2011. "It’s all about the money? Temporary employment, gender, poverty and the role of regulations from a broad European perspective," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1102, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  6. Joël Hellier, 2012. "Working poor trajectories," Working Papers 280, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  7. Olivier Pintelon, 2012. "Welfare State Decommodification: Concepts, Operationalizations and Long-term Trends," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1210, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  8. Mark Visser & Maurice Gesthuizen & Peer Scheepers, 2014. "The Impact of Macro-Economic Circumstances and Social Protection Expenditure on Economic Deprivation in 25 European Countries, 2007–2011," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 1179-1203, February.


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