Social Inequalities in Europe

Friday, June 20th, 2014 - The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Presentations Abstracts

Employment, inequality and social policy
Colin Crouch
Research evidence suggests that there are two routes to high levels of employment in Europe and other advanced nations: one based on strong labour market institutions and certain forms of social policy, with low levels of social inequality; and one based on weak institutions and social policy, with high levels of inequality. A third group of countries have even weak or inappropriate institutions and social policies, high inequality and poor employment levels. What opportunities and dangers face countries in this third group if they try to move out of this negative combination?
Excessive social imbalances in the Eurozone
Frank Vandenbroucke
Excessive social imbalances threaten the long-term sustainability of the European Monetary Union as much as excessive economic imbalances. The expression ‘excessive social imbalances’ describes a set of social problems that affect member states very differently (thus creating ‘imbalances’). These imbalances are not simply ‘similar problems’ in a subset of poorly performing member states: they should be a matter of common concern for all Eurozone members. Youth unemployment and child poverty are two examples; the speech will focus on factors which explain the (divergence in) levels of child poverty across the EU. Fighting excessive social imbalances, especially within the Eurozone, requires the social dimension to be mainstreamed into all EU policies, notably into macroeconomic and budgetary surveillance.
Defending the rights of disadvantaged children in the context of austerity measures
George Moschos
Interventions and proposals of the Ombudsman to promote equal access of all children to education, health and welfare services and to secure adequate standards of living, focusing in particular on children disaffected by poverty and inequalities, during the years of financial crisis in Greece.
The Impact of Crisis on Gender Inequality: The Greek Case
Joanna Tsiganou
Economic restructuring has led to the redefining of certain aspects of inequality in contemporary societies which are deeply gendered. In the case of Greece, as well as in the case of other countries under economic crisis and austerity, gender inequality persists, while new forms of discrimination emerge. The presentation draws on the critical analysis of quantitative and qualitative research data on the most important aspects of gender inequality providing for a policy oriented critical analysis. The aim lies in presenting a usefull insight into the instances of women’s everyday life in Greece under the influence of economic, social and cultural processes. In this context the impact of austerity measureson the implementation of EC gender mainstreaming and equality policies shall be examined. The personnal ‘cost’ on women’s lives is also considered together with the strategies they have developed to ammeliorate its effect.
The impact of economic crisis on Health Inequalities in the EU Countries
John Yfantopoulos
Several EU and WHO reports have indicated that social inequalities in health arise because of economic and social conditions related not only to living standards, daily life and access to services, but also to inequities in power, income and resources. The purpose of this paper is to provide new evidence on health inequalities in the European Union and to generate National and European policy response. We examine the extent of social differences in individual health across the EU countries using the EU-SILC and the European Social Survey. The determinants of health inequalities are analyzed with respect to welfare system classification, social capital, as well as with regard to education, employment status, income, and material deprivation. The magnitude of social gradients is examined across time and EU Member states. The analysis demonstrates a significant impact of economic crisis on health with greater emphasis on the most deprived socio-economic groups.
Social Inequalities in Europe. Conceptual Challenges
Jutta Allmendinger
The paper explores the extent of social inequalities within and between member states. Special attention is given to benchmarks concerning educational attainment, employment and poverty. These benchmarks, set by the European Commission, guide our efforts to achieve a better world. But as they are certainly important to trace the living conditions in all member states they lack a common vision on how we want to live. Do we really want - and need - half of the population being trained academically? Do we really want a labor force participation rate of plus 70 percent? What do we know about the consequences of benchmarks on social inequalities?
Beyond market forces: a story of changing economic inequalities in rich countries
Virginia Maestri
In the last decades income inequality increased in most rich countries, including traditionally “equal” countries. Consumption inequality did not increase accordingly, while the top rich became richer, debt flourished and wealth gained importance. The ideology that shaped policy reforms in the last decades is an important contributor to these changes. What is the current future of inequalities? Are we addressing the fault lines underpinning these trends? The presentation will draw from FP7 GINI lessons.
Social inequalities, fertility and subjective well-being in Europe
Tatiana Karabchuk
Total birth rates in Europe went down dramatically in almost all countries during the last 40 years. The postponed marriages and childbirth delays resulted from the global human value changes could only partially explain this decline. Dr. Karabchuk claims that one of main reasons for it is the rise of job and income instability and labour market polarization. The growth of flexible market relations increased uncertainty and inequalities in many European countries during the last decades. Social and income inequalities cause less happiness, especially for those holding atypical (precarious bad) jobs. High proportions of temporary workers,especially among young generations, lead to growth of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, especially for women combining child bearing and good careers. The labour legislation is one of the key determinants for the job instability in the countries. Predicting the share of precarious jobs employment protection legislation affects fertility intentions and family-work behavior of women. The presentation aims to disclose and explain the countries’ differences in fertility rates as well as in females’ happiness scores across Europe by taking into account their employment status.
  • External Link: European Commission
  • External Link: Greece 2014 Europe
  • External Link: General Secretariat for Research and Technology
  • External Link: National Centre for Social Research
  • External Link: Panteion University