Poverty and subsidiarity in Europe: minimum protection from an economic perspective

Publication type



Globalization and Welfare


Publication date

June 1, 2004


This book focuses on the effects of welfare state arrangements on the dynamics of poverty in Europe. The author contends that the EU is primarily based on economic integration and as a result social policy issues have remained secondary considerations. The question of whether or not there is a role for the EU to play in social policy is answered in Didier Fouarge’s investigation of the constructive and restrictive characteristics of subsidiarity.
Using long-running panel data from three distinctive EU welfare states (the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain), as well as data from the European Community Household Panel, the author analyses the determinants of long-term poverty and the processes underlying poverty transitions. At the individual level, labour market participation and human capital turn out to be important determinants. However, even in the long run most redistribution results from social protection transfers. The book demonstrates that social protection, far from being just a financial burden to the economy, can be seen as a productive factor. The findings endorse active policies aimed at human capital formation as a way to meet Europe’s future economic and social challenges.



Revision of the author's doctoral thesis, Tilburg University, 2002



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