Gender and dynamics of poverty: the cases of (West) Germany and Great Britain

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Working Papers of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change


Publication date

December 1, 1997


The focus of this article is on the gender and dynamic dimensions of poverty in (West) Germany and Great Britain, using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and the British Household Panel Study. Taking time into consideration seems to be an appropriate way of tackling the problem of poverty in a gender-sensitive dimension and to adequately understand its nature and causes, for women as well for men. The dynamic aspect of poverty is important since for some households deprivation may be a persistent condition, while for others only a temporary one. Moreover, the panel approach allows the understanding of the events or circumstances causing people to fall into poverty. Our aim is to explore poverty dynamics, in terms of characteristics and duration of poverty spells; to underline the interaction between critical events and changes in the resource distribution (family, labour market and welfare) in determining the gender characteristics of poverty trajectories; and to verify the different combination of beginning/ending events. Taking Esping-Andersen's typology divisions as a starting point, this article evaluates the degree of protection offered by the institutional mechanisms considered in the two variants themselves, and their capacity to minimize poverty and reduce the gender poverty gap.



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