Employment, Poverty and Globalization
Edited by Hans-Jürgen Andreß and Henning Lohmann
Chapter 2: The Working Poor in European Welfare States: Empirical Evidence from a Multilevel Perspective
Henning Lohmann INTRODUCTION Recent comparative research at the European Union (EU) level shows that there is a great deal of variation in the extent of in-work poverty (Bardone and Guio, 2005). However, there is not much evidence to explain this variation. The few existing comparative studies are largely descriptive without going into the causes of the observed diﬀerences at the institutional level (see Marx and Verbist, 1998; O’Connor and Smeeding, 1995; StrengmannKuhn, 2003). In contrast to the research on the working poor, there is a large body of literature concerning country-speciﬁc diﬀerences in poverty in general. Many of these studies show that country-speciﬁc variations in poverty can be explained by diﬀerences in welfare state characteristics (see, for example, Brady, 2004; Gallie et al., 2000; Kenworthy, 1999; Moller, et al., 2003). In addition, studies on the incidence of low-wage work and the distribution of earnings stress the inﬂuence of labour market institutions (see, for example, Blau and Kahn, 1996; Lucifora et al., 2005; Rueda and Pontusson, 2000). However, it is important to recognize that each strand of research addresses a diﬀerent concept: some studies focus on household incomes while others look at individual earnings. When the working poor are deﬁned as workers who live in poor households, these two concepts are combined. Hence, variations in the incidence of in-work poverty cannot be explained from one perspective alone. Therefore, in this chapter, I hypothesize that welfare state measures and labour market institutions – in particular...
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