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Decomposing Poverty in Hard Times: Greece 2007-2016


  • Eirini Andriopoulou
  • Eleni Kanavitsa
  • Panos Tsakloglou


The Greek economic crisis resulted in a decline in household disposable income by more than 40%. Even though all population groups lost income in absolute terms, some were substantially more severely hit by the crisis. The paper examines the effect of the crisis on the population shares, the mean incomes and the level of poverty of various population groups using SILC data for the period 2007-2016. The population is partitioned according to four criteria: socioeconomic group of the household head, presence of unemployed individuals in the household, age of the population member and household type. When ?anchored? poverty lines and distribution-sensitive poverty indices are employed, the level of poverty rises to incredibly high levels. When the poverty lines used are ?relative?, the poverty rate does not change substantially but when distribution-sensitive indices are used the increase in poverty is very substantial. The most interesting results are related to the changes in the structure of poverty. The crisis was associated with a very substantial increase in unemployment. Unemployment protection in Greece was inadequate while there was no ?benefit of last resort?. As a result, the relative position of households with unemployed members (and, especially, with unemployed heads) deteriorated sharply, while their contribution to aggregate poverty skyrocketed. Unlike what is often claimed in the Greek public discourse, the relative position of pensioner-headed households improved, although they also experienced a considerable decline in their living standards. JEL Codes: D31, I31, I32.

Suggested Citation

  • Eirini Andriopoulou & Eleni Kanavitsa & Panos Tsakloglou, 2019. "Decomposing Poverty in Hard Times: Greece 2007-2016," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 27(2), pages 125-168.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:edddbu:edd_332_0125

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eirini Andriopoulou & Panos Tsakloglou, 2015. "Once Poor, Always Poor? Do Initial Conditions Matter? Evidence from the ECHP," Research on Economic Inequality, in: Thesia I. Garner & Kathleen S. Short (ed.),Measurement of Poverty, Deprivation, and Economic Mobility, volume 23, pages 23-70, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    2. Andriopoulou, Eirini & Kanavitsa, Eleni & Leventi, Chrysa & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2020. "The Distributional Impact of Recurrent Immovable Property Taxation in Greece," IZA Discussion Papers 13505, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Manos Matsaganis & Chrysa Leventi, 2013. "The Distributional Impact of the Greek Crisis in 2010," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(1), pages 83-108, March.
    4. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    5. Eirini Andriopoulou & Panagiotis Tsakloglou, "undated". "The determinants of poverty transitions in Europe and the role of duration dependence," DEOS Working Papers 1119, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    6. Theodore Mitrakos, 2014. "Inequality, poverty and social welfare in Greece: distributional effects of austerity," Working Papers 174, Bank of Greece.
    7. Chrysa Leventi & Fidel Picos, 2019. "The Tax Structure of an Economy in Crisis: Greece 2009-2017," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2019-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Manos Matsaganis & Chrysa Leventi, 2014. "Poverty and Inequality during the Great Recession in Greece," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 12(2), pages 209-223, May.
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    15. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos, 2018. "Evolutions in Consumption Inequality and Poverty in Greece: The Impact of the Crisis and Austerity Policies," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(1), pages 105-126, March.
    16. Panagiotis ARTELARIS & George KANDYLIS, 2014. "Mapping Poverty At Regional Level In Greece," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 39, pages 131-147.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andriopoulou, Eirini & Kanavitsa, Eleni & Leventi, Chrysa & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2020. "The Distributional Impact of Recurrent Immovable Property Taxation in Greece," GLO Discussion Paper Series 604, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item


    Greece; poverty; decomposition analysis; crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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