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Session Overview
RN26_04a_P: Marginalization and Poverty II
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Kjetil Lundberg, Uni Research
Location: PC.4.23
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Persistent household over-indebtedness and exits from over-indebtedness. Evidence from EU-SILC

Stefan Angel

WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

In contrast to income poverty there is less research on spells of deprivation measures, particular illiquidity and debt problems of private households. The aim of this study is to investigate differences between household over-indebtedness and income poverty dynamics with a focus on exit probabilities and persistence. Over-indebtedness is defined as a situation of illiquidity resulting in payment problems. The analysis is based on SILC panel data 2010-2013 for 25 European countries. With reference to the theoretical literature on poverty dynamics (social stratification perspective, life course perspective), we evaluate the effects of structural factors (f.i. sex, education) on the likelihood of exiting over-indebtedness as compared to biographical events (f.i. getting unemployed, changes in the marital status). Moreover, the impact of different welfare state regimes and single welfare state indicators on both the likelihood of exiting over-indebtedness and its duration are investigated. Particularly for exit rates from poverty, consistent country differences according to welfare regimes are not always found in the literature. This could also apply to over-indebtedness. Preliminary results using ordinal logit models with the number of over-indebtedness spells as dependent variable show that the odds for more over-indebtedness periods are significantly lower for older age groups than for younger age groups. Moreover, a quick escape from both over-indebtedness and income poverty is more prevalent in liberal welfare states. There is further descriptive evidence, however, that once a longer time has been spent in deprivation, the likelihood of exiting over-indebtedness is highest in conservative welfare states respectively in liberal welfare states in the case of income poverty. Currently on-going analyses also apply multilevel regression methods and focus on the effects of single policy indicators.

The social unsustainability of EU anti-poverty measures


University of Calabria, Italy

The measures adopted by European countries to lift people out of relative poverty are not effective. Our review shows that: 1. no country uses the European relative at-risk-of poverty threshold (Eurostat) to define the poverty, but lower thresholds; 2. half of the poor do not claim the access to the measures; 3. in most cases, purely economic support are not sufficient to overcome social exclusion; 4. all countries require people to stay on the labor market as a condition to get income; 5. if not, sanctions are applied; 6. in most cases the net minimum wage is beneath the line of poverty.

Italy is the only country in the EU that has not yet adopted measures to address poverty: there was Greece too, but the Troika has imposed to prepare the measures. The major Italian parties have made proposals that follow the patterns of UK and Germany. We analyze their systems, and show that: 1. the access to the income is subject to the compulsion to underpaid wage labor and unpaid labor; 2. the compulsion is based on very stringent penalties; 3. the system creates dependency and subjection to the discretionary power of local management; 4. a lot of poor prevent from entering the system so as not to be subjected to treatment that infringe rights and freedoms, and which make them subject to the social stigma. We believe that the implementation of such system in Italy is socially untenable, and we propose measures that come close to some principles of universal and unconditional basic income.

Welfare goes ethnic - Securitised management of minorities

Lenka Kissová

Masaryk University, Slovak Republic

In the last decades there has been a tendency in Europe to retrench welfare provisions. Governments have tried to find ways how to legitimise unpopular cut-backs in areas such as health care, pensions or material need. In 2014 an Act on benefits in material need came into force in Slovakia. Even though the yearly expenses on material need in the country represent less than 1% of the overall state budget, this legal act has conditioned the benefit with workfare. Individual responsibility for life and well-being have become an integral parts of the welfare individualisation. Within such ideational environment the welfare cut-backs seem to have legitimate reasoning – state representatives limit social provisions in order to ‘adjust’, ‘educate’ and ‘motivate’ individuals to take care about their own lives.

The goal of this paper is to examine the perspective of the policy-makers, motivation and arguments legitimising the recently adopted Act on benefits in material need from the critical perspective, based on the political discourse analysis. Welfare beneficiaries are stigmatised from multiple perspectives – on the basis of ethnicity, social or economic status as they are depicted as abusers, living an abnormal and pathological life. They become subjects of regulation and control, re-establishment of the social order. Policy objectives seem to be legitimised in the political discourse through the images of risk and threat to the society, using the assistance beneficiaries as subjects of these security threats, having an ethnic dimension – and so, aiming at the social, economic and symbolic exclusion of the Roma.

Fighting unemployment and poverty at a time of economic crisis: in need of a broader welfare framework

Olympia Kaminioti

National Insitite of Labour and Human Resources, Greece

Employment policies fight unemployment. Poverty policies fight poverty. Solidarity policies fight social exclusion. People usually face multiple problems. How successful can separate policies be if they address only a single aspect of a systemic problem? The current socioeconomic crisis in Greece (and elsewhere) has underlined the interrelating aspects of growth model, employment strategies, and welfare policies at a micro and macro level. At the micro level, the multiple problems of crisis sufferers cannot be addressed adequately by separate policy strategies. At the macro level the lack of a systemic perspective results in inefficiencies of policies and waste of scarce resources. Through the analysis of some existing policies, we propose ways in which a broader framework that addresses multiple problems of crisis sufferers and a specialized approach according to the targeted population taking into account the specific needs of this population could be beneficial at a time of great problems that need to be addressed with minimum resources. We aim to answer the question: How can we improve employment, poverty, solidarity and health at the same time? Integrative but specialized policies that are tailored to the needs of recipients are suggested.

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