Comparing Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal and the UK
Edited by Eleni Apospori and Jane Millar
Chapter 3: Characteristics and dynamics of income poverty and multidimensional deprivation in Austria
Karin Heitzmann INTRODUCTION Research on poverty, multidimensional deprivation and social exclusion in Austria is scarce, as is knowledge on the distribution of welfare and wellbeing within this country. The ﬁrst large-scale survey on the poor was only conducted in the early 1990s (Lutz et al., 1993).1 Empirical evidence on social exclusion is still missing. Not least owing to this lack of information, public and political attitudes about the prevalence and signiﬁcance of poverty and social exclusion vary. For example, the coalition government, elected in 1999 and consisting of the People’s party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ), insists that the generosity of the social security system handles poverty successfully. It is, however, concerned about increasing social exclusion. Along with political attitudes, public policies shape the perception, extent and characteristics of the distribution of these dimensions of welfare. For example, social insurance in Austria typically discriminates against non-working wives of breadwinners. Special family allowances encourage motherhood and exit from the labour market, while insurance beneﬁts derived from the breadwinner’s employment income (for example, survivors’ pension) tend to be low (Langan and Ostner, 1991). This suggests that females are more likely to be aﬀected by income poverty, and – to the extent that labour market participation signiﬁes inclusion – to be excluded than men. This chapter provides evidence on the characteristics and dynamics of income poverty and multidimensional deprivation in Austria. Some consideration is given to gender in order to assess whether the characteristics of the prevalent corporatist welfare...
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