Handbook on In-Work Poverty
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Handbook on In-Work Poverty

Edited by Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx

There has been a rapid global expansion of academic and policy attention focusing on in-work poverty, acknowledging that across the world a large number of the poor are ‘working poor’. Taking a global and multi-disciplinary perspective, this Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of current research at the intersection between work and poverty.
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Chapter 6: In-work poverty among migrants

Eric Crettaz


Whereas the importance of having a migration background or of being a foreign national is sometimes analysed in European publications dealing with in-work poverty (IWP), the inclusion of these factors in quantitative analyses is not central. The goal of this chapter is twofold. First, starting from the model presented in Chapter 4 of this Handbook, theoretical considerations pertaining to the specific situation of workers who have a migration background or belong to another minority are presented. Second, the link between these factors and the risk of in-work poverty are measured in European Union (EU) countries and in three associated countries (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland). Results based on EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) data show that, indeed, migrants and foreign citizens are more exposed than natives and ‘nationals’, although to a varying extent. Moreover, even when controlling for the usual individual-level factors of IWP highlighted in the specialist literature, as well as all country-level variables through fixed-effects models, not being a native or a national citizen increases the odds of being IWP in Europe, which means that the usual explanations of why these minorities are more affected by in-work poverty – sociodemographic profile, social policy, the state of the economy, and immigration policy – are far from totally explaining the disadvantage they face in the labour market. Even if these results do not fully demonstrate that discrimination is at play, because it is not possible to rigorously control for all dimensions of productivity, nor to control for respondents’ social networks’ composition and resources, they nonetheless represent an interesting contribution to a little-studied aspect of in-work poverty.

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