Handbook of Microcredit in Europe
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Handbook of Microcredit in Europe

Social Inclusion through Microenterprise Development

Edited by Bárbara Jayo Carboni, Maricruz Lacalle Calderón, Silvia Rico Garrido, Karl Dayson and Jill Kickul

This timely Handbook offers a unique opportunity to consider the performance and national context of microcredit initiatives within the European Union.
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Chapter 7: Microcredit in Austria

Susanne Zurl-Meyer and Horst Maunz


Susanne Zurl-Meyer and Horst Maunz* National context Austria, with its geographic situation in central Europe and its political and economical development, is widely respected for its achievements. With a population of 8.3 million people it has a GDP of 197.14 billion euros. As far as the economic situation and wealth of the population is concerned, it cannot be denied that the income gap is growing constantly. Around 12 per cent of the population is endangered by poverty. The groups especially affected are elderly people, women and migrants. The number of ‘working poor’ is also rising, especially among women, mainly caused by the increasing number of part-time jobs. Female participation in the labour force reached 64 per cent by the end of 2006 (Statistik Austria). In June 2006, 44 per cent of women in Austria were working part-time, whereas only 6 per cent of men held part-time jobs. Another recent topic is the integration of migrants. In general, it must be stated that the period of unemployment is relatively short among migrants; the ratio of long-term unemployment among this group is also below average (AMS, 2006). In short, it could be said that migrants find jobs easily, but also get dismissed more often (ibid.). Another problem for migrants is recognition of their qualifications. According to a study done by the OECD, 21.1 per cent of migrants living in Austria are overqualified – their potential is not properly used (Der Standard, 2007). From the year 2000 up to 2006 the unemployment rate was...

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