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Poverty in a multidimensional perspective: Great Britain and Germany in comparison


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  • Böhnke, Petra
  • Delhey, Jan


This paper deals with the issue of poverty in a comparative and multidimensional perspective. Based on Townsend’s concept of relative deprivation, we analyse what people can afford compared to their perceived necessities for decent living. We will analyse definitions of living standard and social deprivation within two European countries which provide sufficient data and differ in their institutional settings: Britain and Germany. The assumption is that different welfare regimes and different social policies will bring about dissimilar deprivation risks. In addition, the concept of deprivation is combined with income poverty to focus on those who are affected by both shortages, low income and a low standard of living. With a multivariate analysis deprivation risks other than income are examined. Indicators of subjective well-being show the effect different poverty levels have on people’s satisfaction in several life domains. The results underline the importance of taking into account different poverty aspects; standard of living turns out to be the main factor to explain overall life satisfaction and can well be seen as the core of multidimensional poverty research. -- Das vorliegende Arbeitspapier versteht sich als Beitrag zu einer Armutsforschung in mehrdimensionaler und komparativer Perspektive. Auf der Grundlage von Townsends Konzept der Relativen Deprivation werden Vorstellungen von einem angemessenen Lebensstandard in Großbritannien und Deutschland analysiert und den tatsächlich realisierten Lebensbedingungen gegenübergestellt. Es wird untersucht, ob sich unterschiedliche Wohlfahrtsregime und sozialpolitische Regelungen in ungleichen Deprivationsrisiken niederschlagen. Durch die Kombination des Deprivationsansatzes mit Einkommensarmut können verschiedene Armutslagen herausgestellt werden, die auf unterschiedliche Art und Weise Benachteiligung bedeuten. Mit Hilfe eines multivariaten Analyseverfahrens wird untersucht, welchen Einfluß andere Faktoren als Einkommen auf das Deprivationsrisiko ausüben. Indikatoren des subjektiven Wohlbefindens zeigen, daß die verschiedenen Armutsaspekte mehr als eine methodische Differenzierung darstellen: Niedriger Lebensstandard und niedriges Einkommen in Kombination haben erhebliche Zufriedenheitseinbußen in verschiedenen Lebensbereichen zur Folge. Die Ergebnisse unterstreichen die Relevanz, Armutsanalysen nicht nur auf Einkommen zu beschränken. Im Hinblick auf die allgemeine Lebenszufriedenheit haben Lebensstandard-Indikatoren eine hohe Erklärungskraft und können als wichtige Dimension einer multidimensionalen Armutsforschung angesehen werden.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting with number FS III 99-413.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbssr:fsiii99413

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  1. Böhnke, Petra & Delhey, Jan, 1999. "Lebensstandard und Armut im vereinten Deutschland," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 99-408, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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Cited by:
  1. Ambra Poggi & Giulia Bizzotto & Francesco Devicienti & Patrik Vesan & Claudia Villosio, 2011. "Quality of Life in Europe: Empirical evidence," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 107, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  2. Whelan, Christopher T. & Maitre, Bertrand & Nolan, Brian, 2007. "Multiple Deprivation and Multiple Disadvantage in Ireland: An Analysis of EU-SILC," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS61.
  3. Luis Ayala (*) & Carolina Navarro, . "Multidimensional Indices Of Housing Deprivation With Application To Spain," Working Papers 12-04 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
  4. Dekkers, Gijs, 2003. "Financial and Multidimensional Poverty in European Countries: can the former be used as a proxy of the latter?," IRISS Working Paper Series 2003-13, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  5. Böhnke, Petra, 2001. "Nothing left to lose? Poverty and social exclusion in comparison. Empirical evidence on Germany," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 01-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  6. Busch, Christopher & Peichl, Andreas, 2010. "The Development of Multidimensional Poverty in Germany 1985-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 4922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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