Income inequalities and employment patterns in Europe before and after the Great Recession

Report
Updated
13 March 2017
Published
13 March 2017
Formats
Executive summary in 22 languages

PDF

Abstract

This report addresses growing concerns about income inequalities in academic and policy debates by offering a comprehensive study of income inequalities during the years of the Great Recession starting in 2008–2009 (income data relating to 2004–2013). It has the twofold objective of adopting an EU-wide perspective and providing an updated picture of inequalities across different sources of income and in most Member States. The results show that EU-wide income inequality declined notably prior to 2008, driven by a strong process of income convergence between European countries – but the Great Recession broke this trend and pushed inequalities upwards both for the EU as a whole and across most countries. While previous studies have pointed to widening wage differentials as the main driver behind the long-term trend towards growing household disposable income inequalities across many European countries, this report identifies unemployment and its associated decline in labour income as the main reason behind the inequality surges occurring in recent years. Real income levels have declined and the middle classes have been squeezed from the onset of the crisis across most European countries. The role played by the family pooling of income in reducing inequalities and the impact of European welfare policies in cushioning the effect of economic turbulences on the distribution of income are also explored. An executive summary is also available - see Related content.

  • Full report

    Number of Pages: 
    70
    Reference No: 
    EF1663
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-1573-7
    Catalogue: 
    TJ-02-17-166-EN-N
    DOI: 
    10.2806/370969
    Catalogue info

    Income inequalities and employment patterns in Europe before and after the Great Recession

    This report addresses growing concerns about income inequalities in academic and policy debates by offering a comprehensive study of income inequalities during the years of the Great Recession starting in 2008–2009 (income data relating to 2004–2013). It has the twofold objective of adopting an EU-wide perspective and providing an updated picture of inequalities across different sources of income and in most Member States.

    Available formats

  • Executive summary

    Reference No: 
    EF16631
    Catalogue info

    Income inequalities and employment patterns in Europe before and after the Great Recession - Executive summary

    Authors: 
    Eurofound

    Across the globe, there is increasing concern about income inequality. Empirical evidence suggests that over the last three decades, income inequality has grown in many developed economies (the extent and time frame of this trend varying considerably). The Great Recession starting in 2008–2009 intensified this concern due to the impact of the ongoing economic crisis on inequality levels, and the general perception that the increase in inequality may have been one of the factors triggering and protracting the crisis. Although there is a large body of research on trends in income inequality in EU Member States, surprisingly few studies adopt an EU-wide perspective. In this context, this report has two main goals: to provide a comparative analysis of inequality trends in Member States over the course of the Great Recession (updating the picture given by previous international studies); and to discuss relevant trends and developments in inequality for the overall EU distribution of income – including the implications of economic convergence and divergence before and after the crisis. Read more in the report - see Related content.

    Available in 22 languages for download

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