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In-work poverty in times of crisis: do part-timers fare worse?

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  • Jeroen Horemans
  • Ive Marx

Abstract

Part-time work has structurally increased across Europe. The recent crisis period has brought additional increases in many countries, especially in involuntary part-time employment. This paper considers the link between part-time work and poverty, taking a comparative perspective across the EU15. The extent to which part-time work is associated with poverty varies considerably, far more so than for full-time workers. Involuntary part-time work clearly stands out as most problematic although an increased poverty risk is not confined to that segment of part-time work. Part-time work for care reasons also carries a higher poverty risk in some countries. It is most problematic in countries where demand and supply side related factors reinforce each other so as to make part-time work an inferior choice from the perspective of preferred working hours, earnings and employment security. Moreover, part-timers sometimes face a ‘double income penalty’ in that they are more likely to have lower earnings and reduced eligibility for certain social transfers. However, there is again considerable cross-country variation in this respect. In some countries actually the reverse is the case and part-timers are in effect more likely to receive social transfers, while being in employment, improving their post-transfer poverty position in a significant way. Taken together, the paper shows that the regulatory drivers shaping part-time work and the welfare state arrangements supporting, or failing to support part-time work play key roles in accounting for the wide variation in poverty risks associated with part-time work across the EU15.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen Horemans & Ive Marx, 2013. "In-work poverty in times of crisis: do part-timers fare worse?," ImPRovE Working Papers 13/14, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1314
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    File URL: http://www.centrumvoorsociaalbeleid.be/ImPRovE/Working%20Papers/ImPRovE%20WP%201314_1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kyyrä, Tomi & Arranz, José María & García-Serrano, Carlos, 2017. "Does Part-Time Work Help Unemployed Workers to Find Full-Time Work? Evidence from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 10770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Horemans, Jeroen & Marx, Ive, 2017. "Poverty and Material Deprivation among the Self-Employed in Europe: An Exploration of a Relatively Uncharted Landscape," IZA Discussion Papers 11007, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    in-work poverty; part-time work; tax benefit systems; EU15; EU-SILC;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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