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Work Package 11: Poverty and the Deprivation

Objectives and data

One of the major justifications for devoting attention to the conceptualisation and measurement of social class is the argument that such measures provide us with a better understanding of longer-term command over resources and exposure to deprivation. In order to assess the validity of such claims we need to be in a position to conduct analysis that is both dynamic and multidimensional. The availability of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) data set provides this opportunity. The multi-dimensionality criterion is fulfilled by the availability of not only income and income poverty measures but also a range of indicators relating to life-style deprivation. The dynamic perspective can be achieved by considering not only income poverty persistence, as in a range of recent work relating to European social indicators, but also corresponding levels of persistence relating to life-style deprivation. Such analysis can be extended to incorporate the experience of subjective economic strain, which provides a valuable additional layer in any process of validation. Depending on the particular measures that one wishes to incorporate in the analysis, it will be possible to report results for EU-15 countries ranging from a maximum of 15 countries to a minimum of 10.

Hypotheses

Based on a range of earlier work, our fundamental hypotheses are that the impact of social class will become progressively stronger as analysis moves from point in time disadvantage to persistent disadvantage and from unidimensional deprivation to multiple deprivation. Furthermore, we also expect that, while the strength of particular social class associations will vary across countries, the overall pattern of associations will display considerable similarity across countries. Thus our analysis will allow us to address issues relating to both diversity of outcomes and similarity in underlying processes.