Causes, Trade-offs and Policy Solutions
Chapter 8: There is No Such Thing as ‘the Working Poor’ or a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
I can now draw conclusions regarding the three arguments presented in the introduction of this book and answer the question that has been at the heart of my analysis: is it possible to combat working poverty without generating hurdles in the labour market? The main findings are grouped into three sections. Each section corresponds to one of the arguments formulated in the introduction. The results presented here open up interesting avenues of research. 8.1 ARGUMENT 1: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘THE WORKING POOR’ Given the evidence presented in this book, this first thesis is clearly established. There are three working poverty mechanisms through which economic, sociodemographic and public policy factors have a bearing on working households, and, hence, three basic types of working poverty. The evidence is synthesized in the following sections. 8.1.1 There Are Three Basic Types of Working Poverty A striking feature of mainstream research has been, until very recently, a definitional chaos. In many cases, some groups of poor workers (whatever the poverty line used) are not classified as ‘working’ for reasons that are, more often than not, implicit. These implicit assumptions might be connected to personal values as to what really ‘being in work’ means. They could also pertain to social policy implications: the situation of workers with a low labour force attachment requires other types of policy interventions. I think that this chaos is potentially harmful to social policy analysis and would like to suggest some solutions. Throughout the first part of the...
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