Decent incomes for all: improving policies in Europe
In 2000, the first social agenda in the history of the European Union was launched, and the endeavor to combat poverty came increasingly to the forefront as a specific area for EU policy cooperation and coordination. Regrettably, however, little progress has been achieved so far, either at the national or European level. On the contrary, the EU's social fabric is under major stress: convergence in national living standards has halted or reversed while progress in terms of poverty reduction in the last decades has been disappointing in most EU Member States. In Europe, despite high social spending and work-related welfare reforms, poverty often remains a largely intractable problem for policymakers and a persistent reality for many European citizens.
In Decent Incomes for All, the authors shed new light on recent poverty trends in the European Union and the corresponding responses by European welfare states. They analyze the effect of social and fiscal policies before, during, and after the recent economic crisis and study the impact of alternative policy packages on poverty and inequality. The volume also explores how social investment and local initiatives of social innovation can contribute to tackling poverty, while recognizing that there are indeed structural constraints on the increase of the social floor and difficult trade-offs involved in reconciling work and poverty reduction. Academics and graduate students in comparative social policy, inclusion and anti-poverty policy, sociology, and public economics will find the book to be a particularly helpful resource in their work.