Monday, 25 June 2012

Individual employment, household employment and risk of poverty in the EU: a decomposition analysis

by Vincent Corluy and Frank Vandenbroucke published as Working Paper no 12/06 (June 2012) by the Centre for Social Research, Antwerp University


In this paper we explore missing links between employment policy success (or failure) and inclusion policy success (or failure), relying on the EU Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) and the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC).

At the inclusion side of the equation, our focus is on the share of individuals at risk of poverty in the 20-to-59 age cohort.

The analysis proceeds in two steps.

The first step considers the distribution of individual jobs over households, thus establishing a link between individual employment rates and household employment rates. Following the work by Gregg, Scutella and Wadsworth a ‘polarization index’ is defined in terms of the difference between, on the one hand, the hypothetical share of individuals living in jobless households assuming that individual employment is distributed randomly across households, and, on the other, the actual share of individuals living in jobless households. Actual changes in household joblessness are decomposed in:
(i) changes due to changes in polarization and
(ii) changes due to changing individual employment rates and changing household structures.

The second step in the analysis decomposes changes in the at-risk-of-poverty rates on the basis of
(i) changes in the poverty risks of jobless households, and
(ii) changes in the poverty risks of other (non-jobless) households;
(iii) changes in household joblessness due to changes in individual employment rates and changing household structures (changes one would expect if no changes in polarization would occur) and
(iv) changes in polarization.

The proposed technique does yield interesting insights into the trajectories that EU welfare states have followed over the past ten years.

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