The concepts of relative deprivation and relative satisfaction, as opposed to inequality, can refer not only to a set of individuals, but also to single individuals. The interest in these concepts is thus motivated by the desire to obtain indicators at the individual level. The chapter starts by presenting evidence of the academic interest in these topics and reviewing the main theoretical models developed, adopting a relativistic specification of utility. It then moves on to the issue of measurement. Different approaches to measurement are introduced. The main indices proposed by the literature and extensions to a dynamic setting are illustrated, and the concept of the reference group is analysed. Concluding remarks focus on the importance of acknowledging interpersonal comparison effects and introducing relativist concerns in models aimed at explaining a wide range of social phenomena.
Ricardo Mora and Jacques Silber
This chapter attempts to review the empirical literature covering various aspects of segregation: residential segregation by race or income, occupational segregation by gender and race, and ethnic group and school segregation. Given the huge number of studies covering these different facets of segregation, this chapter presents a more detailed survey of school than of occupational or residential segregation, and its main focus is on the United States, although findings concerning occupational or residential segregation in other parts of the world are also mentioned. Special attention is given to two topics: the difficulty of evaluating the impact of school desegregation policies, and the specificity of residential segregation measurement which requires the use of spatial indices.
Segregation and the study of its effects on socioeconomic variables has increasingly become an object of interest for economists. The multifaceted nature of the concept of segregation has led to the development of numerous indices which have tried to capture its different aspects. This chapter surveys the segregation literature focusing on axiomatic models. The axiomatic approach, by emphasizing the essential properties that the various measures share and those on which they differ, can help researchers to select the segregation indices that best fit their purposes. After presenting the basic notation, the chapter introduces the Lorenz segregation ordering on two-group cities and the four basic properties it satisfies. Examples of segregation indices are then illustrated. Additional axioms that segregation indices may satisfy, and some characterization results, are also presented. Finally, the case of variable number of groups is analysed and a further characterization theorem is formulated.
Bea Cantillon, András Gábos, Tim Goedemé and Ist ván György Tóth
This chapter reviews some of the empirical trends in social exclusion in Europe. Particular attention is paid to European Union (EU) social indicators that are meant to measure social exclusion, as they often play a central role in policy evaluation. The chapter focuses on some of these measures, namely the at-risk-of-poverty indicator, the share of jobless households, and material deprivation. The authors analyse their trends and levels, as well as their interactions and overlap (from both a cross-sectional and a longitudinal perspective. Finally, the authors investigate the link of these indicators with employment and redistribution, which are central items for policy making related to social exclusion in the EU. The review suggests that trends and levels in social exclusion were disappointingly far from the policy goals set by the EU, and have worsened as a result of the financial crisis.
Luna Bellani and Alessio Fusco
This chapter reviews the theoretical approaches to social exclusion, which is a concept referring to a state of multidimensional disadvantage but also to the process through which an individual progressively becomes marginalized in a society. After explaining the context in which this concept emerged in the European Union, the sociological approaches are explained, followed by the axiomatic approach drawn from economics. Finally, the authors conclude by providing a comparison of the concept of social exclusion with that of income poverty.
Indranil Dutta and Gaston Yalonetzky
The notion of social inequality lends itself to different understandings. One of them is the measurement of inequality over non-monetary dimensions of well-being. The companion Chapter 17 in this Handbook by Lasso de la Vega discusses theoretically the methods to measure inequality when variables are ordinal, and the methods for inequality measurement with bounded continuous variables. The present authors provide empirical illustrations of research implementing this method. Another understanding of social inequality refers to inequality in an indicator of interest between or across socioeconomic groups. The authors explore several methods proposed for this latter purpose and provide empirical illustration.
Casilda Lasso de la Vega
There are variables other than income _ such as health, educational attainment, happiness, and so on _ that are often used to evaluate living standards in a society. This chapter deals with the measurement of inequality among these non-income variables, which are referred to as social variables. The chapter addresses the strand of research that has focused on the assessment of pure inequality of distributions of social variables, without considering the economic status of individuals. A second strand of research, namely socioeconomic inequality, has tried to relate inequality in social variables with income inequality. Although the measurement of pure inequality with social variables is closely related to the measurement of income inequality, the use of standard income inequality measurement procedures is not straightforward when the social variables are either ordinal or bounded cardinal variables. The chapter is devoted to reviewing results on the measurement of inequality with social variables of these two types.
Vulnerability to poverty, interpreted as a forward-looking inclusion of uncertainty in the analysis of poverty, has only recently become part of the literature on poverty. This chapter first introduces different definitions of vulnerability to poverty, and then moves on to more operational aspects of its measurement. Through a review of the existing literature, a series of approaches is presented for the selection of an indicator of vulnerability, the development of methods for forecasting future outcomes and variability of the indicator, and finally the identification of a vulnerability threshold. The chapter concludes with an overview of the covariates used by the literature to assess future poverty status, and presents some final remarks.
Two competing strands exist within the theoretical literature on vulnerability to poverty, each with its own policy implications. Vulnerability may be seen as low expected utility, and thus stress the danger of self-perpetuating poverty, as the poor shy away from risky, yet necessary decisions to escape their hardship. Alternatively, vulnerability is often construed as expected poverty, and provides policy makers with a forward-looking viewpoint that both sheds light on and raises new questions on how best to formulate the targeting of social spending. This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical work underpinning each of these competing views.
Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
The introductory chapter provides an overview of the great social challenge that the EU currently faces. The editors raise the question of what can be done to bridge the prosperity gap in Europe. First, they briefly describe the background: the social dimension of European cooperation and its historical development. Second, they identify the new social challenges that the Union faces in the wake of the Great Recession, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the Brexit referendum. Third, an analytical point of departure for examining these challenges is presented, consisting of an interdisciplinary approach that pinpoints a number of overarching problems and possibilities associated with the social dimension of European integration. Fourth and finally, the book’s chapters are introduced, and their key policy recommendations are summarized. The chapter concludes with the argument that much of the EU’s future relevance and ability to stay together depends on its capacity to counteract the prosperity gap and reverse the negative trend that emerged during the crisis.