Edited by Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx
Chapter 16: The international political economy of the working poor in Western Europe
This chapter advances the argument that the relationship between labor, poverty and the international political economy is a central, yet often neglected factor in understanding trends and inter-country variations in in-work poverty (IWP) in Western Europe. Questioning the assumption that employment protects individuals from poverty, the author discusses the structural role that impoverishment plays in accumulation, and the interlinkages between IWP, international production restructuring, and industrial and labor relations, with particular attention to working-hour dynamics. After laying down her methodological approach, the author then examines the interlinkages between European Union (EU) integration, production globalization and the global economic crisis since 2007_2008. She then looks at the effects of outsourcing/offshoring, immigration and the crisis on the international specialization of the EU-15 productive structure and on the labor supply. This framework, she argues, contributes to explaining both general trends of and inter-country variations in IWP. The cases of Britain, Germany and Italy in the period preceding and following the outbreak of the global economic crisis are illustrative of this theoretical framework.
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