Exploring Inequality in Europe

Exploring Inequality in Europe

Diverging Income and Employment Opportunities in the Crisis

Edited by Martin Heidenreich

Europe has become a dominant frame for the generation, regulation and perception of social inequalities. This trend was solidified by the current economic crisis, which is characterized by increasing inequalities between central and peripheral countries and groups. By analysing the double polarization between winners and losers of the crisis, the segmentation of labour markets and the perceived quality of life in Europe, this book contributes to a better understanding of patterns and dynamics of inequality in an integrated Europe.

Chapter 8: Does the Europeanization of daily life increase the life satisfaction of Europeans?

Franziska Buttler

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy


Post-war Europe is characterized by new transnational interrelations subsumed under the terms vertical and horizontal Europeanization. European integration opened up new opportunity structures that may help individuals to achieve a certain standard of living. The eurozone crisis has negative consequences for living standards and life satisfaction in many European countries. However, this chapter argues that European social integration also offered many opportunities to the EU population to help combat unpleasant life events. The question that will be discussed is the following: has the horizontal Europeanization process opened up new possibilities and enriched opportunities to cope with problematic occurrences in life and could this process therefore be beneficial to individuals? On the basis of the Eurobarometer data from 2012 it can be shown that individuals who make transnational experiences are more satisfied with their life than individuals who don’t. A similar relationship can be observed on the country level as well. Nation states which are open towards other European countries in the social domains of tourism, working abroad, immigration and European higher-education exchange increase the chances for high life satisfaction among individuals; tourism appearing to be the most dominant contributor. Hence, social transnational interrelations are beneficial for the utilization of resources that help to deal with problematic occurrences in life, especially in times of crisis.

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