Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being
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Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being

Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio

The past decade has been characterized by a burgeoning interest in new concepts of individual and social well-being. The impetus for this new research has stemmed from increased demand from policy makers and civil society for measures of progress that go beyond the traditional measures of GDP, as well as improved datasets allowing individuals and households to be tracked over their life course. The aim of this Handbook is to chart these developments and provide extensive surveys of many of the recent themes that have emerged in the research literature. Some of the topics addressed include poverty. relative deprivation and satisfaction, economic insecurity, social exclusion and inequality, income and social polarization, and social fractionalization and diversity. Each topic is first analyzed from a theoretical perspective, followed by detailed empirical discussion.
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Chapter 14: Economic insecurity: empirical findings

Lars Osberg


The chapter discusses how economic insecurity has been measured, and the implications of different measurement strategies. After clarifying the common conceptual elements in available definitions of economic insecurity, it presents a summary of the four main measurement strategies developed in the current emerging empirical literature on economic insecurity, which emphasize: (1) large income losses; (2) the buffering role of wealth; (3) income volatility relative to personal trend; and (4) the hazards of unemployment, illness, family break-up and old age. Although there is now no consensus on which measurement method produces the best explanatory measure of economic insecurity, results are qualitatively similar and robust across different methods. Concluding remarks emphasize the importance of economic insecurity for public policy.

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