Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    The role of social institutions in inter-generational mobility
    The primary goal of inter-generational mobility (IGM) research has always been to explain how and why social origins influence peoples’ life chances. This has naturally placed family attributes at centre stage. But the role of social institutions, most notably education systems, as a mediating factor has also been central to IGM theory. Indeed, generations of stratification research were premised on the core assumption that equalizing access to education would weaken the impact of social origins. In theory, policies, institutions, as well as macro-economic and historical context, have been identified as crucial in shaping patterns of social mobility (D’Addio, 2007). But apart from education, empirical research has contributed little concrete evidence on how this occurs.
  • 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.
  • Publication
    Resources deprivation and the measurement of poverty
    (Cambridge University Press, 1993-04) ; ;
    Ringen has advocated the use of both income and deprivation criteria in identifying those excluded from society due to lack of resources, a widely accepted definition of poverty. We illustrate with Irish data how this might be done, paying particular attention to how appropriate indicators of deprivation are to be selected. The results show that employing both income and deprivation criteria rather than income alone can make a substantial difference to both the extent and composition of measured poverty. This highlights the restrictive nature of poverty conceived in terms of exclusion rather than minimum rights to resources.
      3786Scopus© Citations 149
  • 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
    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
    Poverty in Ireland : the role of underclass processes
    (Economic and Social Research Institute, 1999) ;
    Rising levels of urban deprivation and a perception that poverty has become more concentrated in such areas and has taken on a qualitatively different character have provoked a variety of popular and academic responses. The potentially most fruitful set of hypotheses focus on the unintended consequences of social change. A combination of weak labour force attachment and social isolation are perceived to lead to behaviour and orientations that contribute to a vicious circle of deprivation. In examining the value of this conceptual framework in the Irish case we proceed by measuring directly the social psychological factors which are hypothesised to mediate the 'underclass' process. A significantly higher level of poverty is found in urban public sector tenant households. This finding cannot be accounted for entirely by socio-demographic differences. It is the assessment of this net or residual effect that is crucial to an evaluation of vicious circle explanations. Controlling for the critical social-psychological factors we found that net effect was reduced by less than a quarter and concluded that the remaining effect is more plausibly attributed to the role of selection than to underclass processes. Analysis of the changing relationship between urban public sector tenancy and poverty provides support for this interpretation. For the main part the distinctiveness of social housing tenants is a consequence of the disadvantages they suffer in relation to employment opportunities and living standards. Ultimately it is these problems that policy interventions, whatever the level at which they take place, must address.
  • 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
    From Income Poverty to Multidimensional Quality of Life
    (Economic and Social Studies, 2019-12-16) ; ;
    In this paper we provide an overview of the movement in Ireland from a focus on income poverty to the incorporation of deprivation indicators in a multidimensional approach to the measurement of poverty. We then seek to place this approach, involving a restricted incorporation of deprivation dimensions, in the context of a broader multidimensional approach to the understanding of poverty in Ireland. We proceed to extend our consideration to multidimensional approaches to quality of life which have involved macro and micro approaches to developing aggregate measures that go well beyond the normal concerns of poverty research. In so doing, we will seek to show that while all of these approaches must face key judgements relating to choices of dimensions, thresholds, weighting and aggregation, there is significant variation in the challenges posed in relation to the scale of aggregation, the degree of multidimensionality aspired to and the availability of data sources that match such ambitions. Given these issues, the superiority of a multidimensional approach and of a focus more broadly on quality of life must be demonstrated rather than assumed.