Edited by Bea Cantillon, Tim Goedemé and John Hills
Published 1 January 2018
Oxford University Press
This book aims to shed new light on recent poverty trends in the European Union, responses by European welfare states, and how progress can be made to realize a decent income for all. The text analyzes the effect of social and fiscal policies before, during, and after the recent economic crisis and studies the impact of alternative policy packages on poverty and inequality. Furthermore, the discussion elaborates on how social investment and local initiatives of social innovation can contribute to tackling poverty. There are reasons for both optimism and pessimism.
The book argues that there are indeed structural constraints on the increase of the social floor and difficult trade-offs involved in reconciling work and poverty reduction. Differences across countries are, however, very large. This suggests that there is ample room for maneuver for policy makers. There is also no evidence of a universal deterioration of social protection. Nonetheless, we observe a persistent and almost general inadequacy of minimum income protection for jobless households, pointing to structural challenges for realizing a decent minimum income for all. To overcome these challenges, unavoidably, efforts to raise the wage and the social floor should be increased significantly almost everywhere. The book highlights that to do so, country-specific policy mixes should be designed.