Session B1: Labour market polarisation and poverty

Session organisers: Vincent Corluy and Frank Vandenbroucke





Over the last decade, individual employment rates have substantially grown. But at the household level, even in a context of high labour demand, household joblessness tends to be very persistent. In most European countries, the difference between, on the one hand, the actual share of individuals living in jobless households and, on the other, the hypothetical share of individuals living in jobless households assuming that individual employment is distributed randomly across households, is positive and growing.

Despite those findings, boosting employment rates continues to be a prime policy objective in many countries, driven in part by the idea that ‘the best protection against poverty is a job’. We do find that increasing individual employment rates and reducing household non-employment are relevant for improving poverty outcomes, but the relation is complex and substantial cross-country variation occurs.

This session will focus on both the structure and distribution of work in relation to poverty and income inequality. Presentations are structured over (a) the underlying social, economic and demographic dynamics of the distribution of employment at the individual and the household level, (b) the complex relation between employment distribution and poverty outcomes and (c) policies that may contribute to a better distribution of work.


Background Documents: