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The Dynamics of Social Exclusion in Europe

Comparing Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal and the UK

Edited by Eleni Apospori and Jane Millar

Issues of poverty and social exclusion are high on the European policy agenda. The Dynamics of Social Exclusion in Europe reports findings from a study funded by the European Commission, using data from the European Community Household Panel, with a multi-dimensional approach to international comparisons of poverty and social exclusion. The research, building upon that of the preceding book – Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe – compares four groups who are anticipated to be at particular risk of poverty and social exclusion; young adults, lone parents, the sick or disabled, and those retired from employment.
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Chapter 3: Characteristics and dynamics of income poverty and multidimensional deprivation in Austria

Karin Heitzmann


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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