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Class and gender in Europe, before and during the economic crisis

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  • Marcella Corsi
  • Carlo D'Ippoliti

Abstract

While we do not mean to imply that there are insurmountable or even clear distinctions between the social sciences, we claim that economists can still provide an original analysis of class, which should be regarded as complementary to those developed by sociologists. Following the tradition of British Classical economists, by a ‘economic approach’ we mean here the study of the production and distribution of income, that is of the conditions of societal survival and reproduction over time. From this perspective, a good deal of feminist literature has already shown the relevance of gender relations both at home and in the market.Thus, the aim of this work is to reopen the debate among economists (beyond the specific schools that already do) on the expediency of some form of joint class and gender analysis. We restrict the attention to the objective relations of production and distribution of income that is we abstract from individuals’ own understanding and representation of classes, or their identification within the class structure. Employing the EU-SILC database, we develop an example and tentative empirical application of our approach to the recent trends in the European Union. Amongour preliminary conclusions are the observations that the “99% vs. 1%” debate seriously risks misleading a well-founded class analysis, that within the household redistribution may matter more than usually expected, and that the on-going economic crisis is producing a loss of income mainly concentrated in the working class, though with some reduction of within-class inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcella Corsi & Carlo D'Ippoliti, 2013. "Class and gender in Europe, before and during the economic crisis," Working Papers CEB 13-027, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/144278
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    References listed on IDEAS

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