Country Differences in Material Deprivation in Europe


  • Note: We acknowledge the financial support provided by the Spanish Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Spanish Ministry of Education through Grant ECO2012-33993.


This paper assesses to what extent differences in the characteristics of individuals (micro-level perspective) and country-specific factors (macro-level perspective) can explain country differences with respect to material deprivation levels. Thus, our work aims to simultaneously consider the macro dimension and the predominantly individually-oriented study field of material deprivation using multilevel techniques. We make use of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. Our results show that country-specific factors seem to be much more relevant than individual effects in explaining country differences in material deprivation. We estimate that the introduction of country-specific factors reduces the proportion of total variance due to between-country differences in deprivation by 72.7 percent, while individual-level variables reduce this proportion by only 9.4 percent. We also show, through interaction variables, that the effect of sociodemographic characteristics can be shaped by institutional and structural factors, especially by the level of GDP.