IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Welfare States, Social Structure and the Dynamics of Poverty Rates. A comparative study of 16 countries, 1980-2000




The purpose of this paper is twofold. The primary purpose is to try and explain both the temporal and the spatial variation of poverty rates in terms of unemployment insurance indicators and structural/sociodemographic factors. Secondly, the paper aims to test the 'convergence hypothesis' of the poverty rate, i.e. whether or not poverty rates in modern welfare states have converged in recent decades. The analyses tentatively suggest that structural change in terms of the unemployment rate, the proportion of single-earner households, the female labour-force participation rate, and the proportion of families with children primarily explains the temporal variation in poverty rates. The unemployment insurance factors primarily explain the spatial variation, i.e. variation between countries. In part, however, the temporal variation is explained but the cuts in net replacements in unemployment insurance. This factor alone explains a larger share of the overall variance than all the structural factors put together. Where the convergence hypothesis is concerned, a random-effects model is proposed as a statistical tool for testing convergence (and disperson). The results of this analysis suggest that for the 16 countries and the time frame under review the convergence hypothesis must be rejected, an outcome that is in line with some other analyses presented recently.

Suggested Citation

  • Bäckman, Olof, 2005. "Welfare States, Social Structure and the Dynamics of Poverty Rates. A comparative study of 16 countries, 1980-2000," Arbetsrapport 2005:7, Institute for Futures Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifswps:2005_007 Note: ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 91-89655-65-6

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wasmer, Etienne, 2002. "Interpreting Europe and US labor markets differences: the specificity of human capital investments," Arbetsrapport 2003:9, Institute for Futures Studies.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    3. Palme, Mårten & Svensson, Ingemar, 2002. "Pathways to Retirement and Retirement Incentives in Sweden," Arbetsrapport 2002:9, Institute for Futures Studies.
    4. Jantti, Markus & Danziger, Sheldon, 2000. "Income poverty in advanced countries," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 309-378 Elsevier.
    5. Andersson, Jenny, 2002. "Alva´s Futures Ideas in the construction of Swedish Futures Studies," Arbetsrapport 2002:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
    6. Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2001. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: Can Epidemics Explain the Three Regimes?," Arbetsrapport 2001:1, Institute for Futures Studies.
    7. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
    8. Ranehill, Eva, 2002. "Social snedrekrytering till högre studier - En litteraturöversikt," Arbetsrapport 2002:10, Institute for Futures Studies.
    9. Sommestad, Lena, 2001. "Health and Wealth: The Contribution of Welfare State Policies to Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2001:3, Institute for Futures Studies.
    10. Korpi, Walter, 2003. "Welfare State Regress in Western Europe: Politics, Institutions, Globalization and Europeanization," Working Paper Series 5/2003, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    11. Dahlberg, Susanne & Nahum, Ruth-Aïda, 2003. "Cohort Effects on Earnings Profiles: Evidence from Sweden," Arbetsrapport 2003:3, Institute for Futures Studies.
    12. Moene, Karl O. & Wallerstein, Michael, 2003. "Income Inequality and Welfare spending: A disaggregated Analysis," Memorandum 18/2003, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    13. Lundqvist, Torbjörn, 2002. "Arbetskraft och konkurrensbegränsning; aktörsperspektiv på den svenska modellen och framtiden," Arbetsrapport 2002:1, Institute for Futures Studies.
    14. Malmberg, Bo & Sommestad, Lena, 2000. "Tunga trender i den globala utvecklingen," Arbetsrapport 2000:2, Institute for Futures Studies.
    15. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas, 2004. "Forecasting global growth by age structure projections," Arbetsrapport 2004:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Welfare States; Social Structure; Poverty Rates;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:ifswps:2005_007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Erika Karlsson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.