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Welfare Regime and Social Class Variation in Poverty and Economic Vulnerability in Europe: An Analysis of EU-SILC

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  • Christopher T. Whelan

    (University College Dublin)

  • Bertrand Maitre

    (ESRI)

Abstract

In this paper we address a set of interrelated issues. These comprise the relative merits of unidimensional versus multidimensional approaches to poverty and social exclusion, increasing concerns about reliance on nationally based income poverty measures in the context of EU-enlargement and the continuing relevance of class based explanations of variation in life chances. Employing the EU-SILC data set, we identify for each of a set of welfare regimes a group of economically vulnerable individuals. Contrary to the situation with national income poverty measures, levels of economic vulnerability vary systematically across welfare regimes. The multidimensional profile of the economically vulnerable sharply differentiates them from the remainder of the population. Unlike the national relative income approach, the focus on economic vulnerability produces a pattern of class differentiation that is not dominated by the contrast between the property owning classes and all others. In contrast to a European-wide relative income approach, it also simultaneously captures the fact that absolute levels of vulnerability are distinctively high among the lower social classes in the less affluent regimes while class relativities are significantly sharper in the more affluent regimes. No single indicator is likely to prove adequate in capturing the diversity of experience of poverty and social exclusion in an enlarged European Union. The most effective strategy may be to take more seriously the need to translate the conceptually compelling case for a multidimensional approach to social exclusion into an appropriate set of operational alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maitre, 2009. "Welfare Regime and Social Class Variation in Poverty and Economic Vulnerability in Europe: An Analysis of EU-SILC," Papers WP303, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp303
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2006. "Summarizing multiple deprivation indicators," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-40, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Adam Carle & Kurt Bauman & Kathleen Short, 2009. "Assessing the Measurement and Structure of Material Hardship in the United States," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 92(1), pages 35-51, May.
    3. Frances Ruane & Xiaoheng Zhang, 2007. "Location Choices of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe after 1992," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp220, IIIS.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Leoni, 2016. "Social investment: A guiding principle for welfare state adjustment after the crisis?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(4), pages 831-858, November.
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1350-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christopher T. Whelan & Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maitre, 2017. "Polarization or “Squeezed Middle” in the Great Recession?: A Comparative European Analysis of the Distribution of Economic Stress," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 163-184, August.
    4. Calvert, E. (Emma) & Brian Nolan, 2012. "GINI DP 68: Material Deprivation in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 68, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    5. Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maitre, 2012. "Identifying Childhood Deprivation: How Well Do National Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Ireland Perform?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(2), pages 251-272.
    6. Daria Popova & Alina Pishniak, 2017. "Measuring Individual Material Well-Being Using Multidimensional Indices: An Application Using the Gender and Generation Survey for Russia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 883-910, February.
    7. Polly Vizard & Lin Yang, 2017. "Multidimensional poverty and income inequality in the EU," CASE Papers /207, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    8. repec:rnp:ecopol:ep1757 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Birčiaková, Naďa & Antošová, Veronika & Stávková, Jana, 2013. "Has the level of achieved education affected the income of Czech households," MPRA Paper 48846, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Thomas Leoni, 2015. "Welfare state adjustment to new social risks in the post-crisis scenario. A review with focus on the social investment perspective," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 89, WWWforEurope.
    11. Monica Budowski & Sebastian Schief & Rebekka Sieber, 2016. "Precariousness and Quality of Life—a Qualitative Perspective on Quality of Life of Households in Precarious Prosperity in Switzerland and Spain," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1035-1058, December.

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