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Work, Labour Market, and Poverty

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
2 200 000
Project period
2009 - 2011
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science,GU & Department of Sociology, Umeå University

Short description

A central assumption behind labour market policies is that employment is the best way to fight poverty and economic hardship. But that assumption will only hold if incomes generated by employment are big enough to lift people above the poverty line. If not, the only thing that will happen is that the non-working poor will be transformed into the working poor. The aim is to study in-work poverty in Sweden and other European countries.

An individual’s or household’s disposable income is dependent not only on labour market incomes, but also on welfare state transfers and the incomes of other family members. The idea is to study how these three systems – labour market, welfare state and family – are integrated. From a policy perspective, this is central. If people are poor because of low wages, it is the wage structure that is the problem. However, if employed people are poor because, for example, their spouse is unemployed or because of recurrent unemployment periods, the problem is lack of employment in combination with inadequate income protection.