Employment, Poverty and Globalization
Edited by Hans-Jürgen Andreß and Henning Lohmann
Chapter 11: Combating In-Work Poverty in Europe: The Policy Options Assessed
Ive Marx and Gerlinde Verbist INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we pose the question: what can policy do to prevent and alleviate in-work poverty? Three initial remarks are in order before we move on to what will inevitably be a concise review of policy alternatives. First, as the chapters in this book make clear, in-work poverty in Europe is a diverse, multifaceted phenomenon that occurs in equally diverse institutional, economic and socio-demographic settings. Any eﬀective set of policy measures to prevent or alleviate in-work poverty will have to reﬂect this. Consequently, readers should not expect this chapter to present a ‘one size ﬁts all’ policy prescription. Second, in-work poverty cannot be seen as a separate issue from the wider causes of poverty and low income in any given society. Indeed, the two are essentially inseparable. Policies intended to combat in-work poverty will inevitably be part and parcel of more general anti-poverty policies. Third, a decision as to what policy action – or set of policy actions – is most appropriate cannot be seen as independent from normative notions that underlie the various ways that in-work poverty can be construed. In-work poverty in Europe is concentrated to a considerable extent among dual-adult households with only one working adult – that is, traditional single-breadwinner households. Whether this is construed as a problem of insuﬃcient breadwinner earnings or as a problem of partner non-participation makes a fundamental diﬀerence as to what type of policy action is to be favoured. Broadly speaking, policies can...
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