In-work poverty in Europe and in the US

Seminar, 30 hours/M.A. level

Working poor are individuals who are gainfully employed, but their household income is below the poverty threshold. Therefore, in-work poverty arises at intersection of labour market and family dynamics: on the one hand, individual resources are related to the likelihood of experiencing unfavourable labour market arrangements leading to poverty (e.g. low-wage or temporary contracts); on the other hand, specific family structure or family-life-course transitions (e.g., the birth of a child or divorce) are associated with different levels of households’ economic wellbeing. The seminar will examine how and why in-work poverty became a critical issue in the US and in Europe. The aim is to offers a comprehensive understanding of in-work poverty by, first, discussing the theoretical and methodological challenges of defining and measuring it. Second, we will consider the prevalence of working poor over time and across specific social groups will in different welfare and labor market regimes. Finally, we will discuss the implications of the characteristics of in-work poverty across countries for policy design.