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Societal shifts and changed patterns of poverty


Johan Fritzell, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden


Fritzell J, Ritakallio VM. Societal shifts and changed patterns of poverty

Int J Soc Welfare 2010: ••: ••–••© 2010 The Author(s), Journal compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Journal of Social Welfare.

This article uses data from the Luxembourg Income Study to analyse cross-national and cross-temporal poverty risks in 11 Western countries. We show that poverty risks have tended to increase from the early 1980s to 2000. In line with what we would expect based on the welfare state literature, the Nordic countries tend to have the lowest poverty rates. However, the proportion of the national population with a market income below the poverty threshold has increased in all countries and the cross-national variation in market income poverty is not apparently related to the type of welfare state regime. We perform a simulation analysis to test whether structural factors, that is, compositional differences in age, family and labour market behaviour, could account for the cross-national variation found. Our results demonstrate the increasing importance of household labour market attachment for alleviating poverty risks, as well as for explaining the cross-national variation in these risks.