Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Publication
    Persistent and consistent poverty in the 1994 and 1995 waves of the European Community Household Panel Study
    (Economic and Social Research Institute, 2000-07) ; ; ;
    In this paper we attempt to contribute to the growing literature on the mismatch observed when comparing income and deprivation measures of poverty through an analysis of the first two waves of the European Community Household Panel Study. We do so by developing for each country measures of point in time income poverty, persistent income poverty and consistent poverty involving both low income and a corresponding level of deprivation. Our analysis shows that the mismatch between income and deprivation measures is greatest at the least generously defined poverty lines. A similar relationship was found for persistence. But, while consistency was related to the overall level of poverty in a country, this was not true for persistence. To develop further our understanding of different poverty measures the relationship of these variables to economic strain is considered. While deprivation has a substantially stronger impact than income a significant interaction between the two factors is found to exist. As a prelude to a systematic multivariate analysis of the determinants of different types of poverty, the final section illustrates the manner in which conclusions about the impact of social class on poverty are affected by the choice of poverty measure and the country under consideration. It proceeds to place these findings in the context of the recent debate on the "democratisation" of poverty.
  • Publication
    Economic Stress and the Great Recession in Ireland: The Erosion of Social Class Disadvantage
    (Economic and Social Studies, 2018) ; ;
    In this paper we address the issue of whether the Great Recession in Ireland led to increased social class polarisation in the experience of economic stress. Rather than observing polarisation, we find evidence for ‘middle class squeeze’ involving the self-employed and a significant erosion of the advantages associated with the higher social classes. These outcomes derived primarily from a weakening of the degree of association between social class and income class and a reduction of the buffering effect of social class within the lower income classes. By 2012 social class had no impact on economic stress net of income class.
  • Publication
    Poverty dynamics : an analysis of the 1994 and 1995 waves of the European Community Household Panel Survey
    (Economic and Social Research Institute, 2000-07) ; ; ;
    Recent poverty research internationally based on analysis of panel data has highlighted the importance of income dynamics. In this paper, we study mobility into and out of relative income poverty from one year to the next using data for twelve countries from the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP). The ECHP has unique potential as a harmonised data set to serve as the basis for comparisons of income and poverty dynamics across EU countries, and here we begin exploiting this potential by analysing income poverty transitions from Wave 1 to Wave 2. As well as describing the extent of these transitions, we analyse the pattern by fitting log-linear and linear by linear models commonly employed in the analysis of social mobility. Moving from general to specific models we show the relative impact of hierarchy, immobility and affinity effects. Our analysis shows that cross-national variation in short-term poverty dynamics is predominantly a consequence of "shift" rather than "association effects". Variation across countries in patterns of poverty persistence is extremely modest. Models that assume that the processes underlying poverty dynamics are constant across countries perform almost as well as those that allow for cross-national variability.
  • Publication
    Measuring material deprivation in the enlarged EU
    (Economic and Social Research Institute, 2008-06) ; ;
    This paper uses new data from EU-SILC for twenty-six European countries to examine the structure and distribution of material deprivation in the enlarged EU. We identify three distinct dimensions of material deprivation relating to consumption, household facilities and neighbourhood environment, and construct indices of these dimensions for each country and the EU as a whole. The extent of variation across countries and welfare regimes is shown to depend on the dimension on which one focuses, as does the strength of the association with household income and subjective economic stress. The index of consumption deprivation has by far the highest correlation with income, provides a highly reliable measure in itself, and allows segments of the population to be identified that are sharply differentiated in terms of their multi-dimensional deprivation profiles. On the basis of this evidence we make some suggestions as to the manner in which the measurement of material deprivation in the European Union should be developed through the proposed special module of deprivation which will form part of the 2009 wave of EU-SILC.
  • Publication
    Economic stress and the great recession in Ireland:- the erosion of social class advantage
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2016-11-09) ; ;
    In this paper we address claims that the impact of the Great Recession in Ireland has led to increased class polarization with the burden of the adjustment being disproportionately borne by the vulnerable. Rather than observing social class polarization, we find evidence for 'middle class squeeze' involving the self-employed and a significant erosion of the advantage associated with the higher social classes. The changing impact of social class was related to a change in the distribution of persons across classes but more importantly to a weakening of the degree of association between social class and income group and a changing pattern of interaction between them. The cumulative impact of these changes meant that by 2012 social class had no impact on economic stress net of income group. Our findings are consistent with an erosion of the buffering role of social class within the lower income categories associated with the pervasive effects of the economic crisis. Our analysis elaborates onthe reasons why what from an income perspective can appear as deterioration in theposition of the income poor can from a social class perspective reappear as middle class squeeze. In our conclusion we consider why our findings seem so much at variance with most of the commentary on the distributional impact of austerity in Ireland.
  • Publication
    Earnings inequality, institutions and the macroeconomy – what can we learn from Ireland’s boom years?
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-03) ; ;
    Rapid economic growth is often expected to lead to increased returns to education and skills and thus to rising wage inequality. Ireland offers a valuable case study, with distinctive wage-setting institutions and exceptional rates of growth in output, employment and incomes in the Celtic Tiger period from 1994 to 2007. We find that dispersion in (hourly) wage inequality fell sharply to 2000, before increasing though much less sharply to 2007. Returns to both education and work experience declined considerable in the earlier period, while the increase in lower earnings relative to the median was associated with the introduction of the minimum wage in 2000, anchoring the bottom of the distribution. For 2000-2007 the faster increase in higher earnings may be associated with the changing pattern of immigration and of the employment growth in the second half of the boom, Further exploration of the factors at work towards the top of the distribution during these years is an important research priority.
  • Publication
    Economic stress and the great recession in Ireland: polarization, individualization or 'middle class squeeze'?
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2014-04) ; ;
    Following an unprecedented boom that attracted the label 'Celtic Tiger', since 2008 Ireland has experienced the most severe economic and labour market crisis since the foundation of the State. The rapid deterioration in the labour market, alongside stringent austerity measures, had a widespread impact. Considerable debate persists as to where the heaviest burden has fallen. Conventional measures of income poverty and inequality have a limited capacity to capture the impact of the recession. This is exacerbated by a dramatic increase in the scale of debt problems. Our analysis, which focuses on economic stress, provides no evidence for individualization or class polarization. Instead we find that while economic stress level are highly stratified in class terms in both boom and bust periods, the changing impact of class is highly contingent on life course stage. The affluent income class remained largely insulated from the experience of economic stress, however, it saw its advantage relative to the income poor class decline at the earliest stage of the life-course and remain stable across the rest of the life course. At the other end of the hierarchy, the income poor class experienced a relative improvement in their situation in the earlier life course phase and no significant change at the later stages. For the remaining income classes life-course stage was even more important. At the earliest stage the precarious class experienced some improvement in its situation while the outcomes for the middle classes remain unchanged. In the mid-life course the precarious and lower middle classes experienced disproportionate increase in their stress levels while at the later life-cycle stage it is the combined middle classes that lost out. Additional effects over time relating to social class are restricted to the deteriorating situation of the petit bourgeoisie at the middle stage of the life-course. The pattern is clearly a good deal more complex that suggested by conventional notions of 'middle class squeeze' and points to the distinctive challenges relating to welfare and taxation policy faced by governments in the Great Recession.
  • Publication
    Polarization or "Squeezed Middle" in the Great Recession? : A Comparative European Analysis of the Distribution of Economic Stress
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2015-06-18) ; ;
    This paper analyses variation in the impact of the Great Recession on economic stress across income classes for a range of advanced European countries. Our analysis shows Iceland, Ireland and Greece to be quite distinctive in terms of increases in their multidimensional income, material deprivation and economic stress profiles. Between 2008 and 2012 these countries moved from being predictably located within anticipated welfare regimes to becoming clear outliers. For this set of counties, each of which was exposed to different but severe forms of economic shock, trends in income class polarisation versus middle class squeeze were variable. Each exhibited substantial increases in levels of economic stress. However, changes in the pattern of income class differentiation were somewhat different. In Iceland a form of middle class squeeze was observed. For income class polarization did not exclude middle class squeeze. Greece came closest to fitting the polarization profile. Changes in the distribution of household equivalent income had no effect on stress levels once the impact of material deprivation was taken into account. Changes in levels of material deprivation played a significant role in accounting for changing stress levels but only for the three lowest income classes. These findings bring out the extent to which the impact of the Great Recession on the distribution of economic stress across classes varied even among the hardest-hit countries. They also serve to highlight the advantages of a multidimensional approach that goes beyond reliance on income in seeking to understand the impact of such shocks.