The Dimensionality of Deprivation in Europe

Brian Nolan and Christopher T. Whelan

in Poverty and Deprivation in Europe

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588435
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731327 | DOI:
The Dimensionality of Deprivation in Europe

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A variety of analytical challenges must be faced in using non-monetary indicators, especially when one of the core objectives is to be able to draw meaningful conclusions across countries. This chapter explores some core issues in this regard using the deprivation items in the European Community Household Panel and the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. It first investigates the most satisfactory dimensional structure for the analysis of material derivation — that is, a grouping of items into different sets that reflect distinct aspects of living standards and deprivation, such as the capacity to afford basic requirements, the possession of consumer durables, housing conditions, and the quality of neighbourhood environment. It assesses the levels of reliability associated with the dimensions proposed, and discusses how dimensional structure and indices relate to those advanced in other EU-level studies on this topic. It then documents the variation across countries in terms of the deprivation dimensions identified, taking into account alternative ways of assigning importance or weight to different items. It examines the relationship between different dimensions of deprivation, income, and social class, arguing that the particular form of deprivation called ‘consumption deprivation’ is most suitable if one is seeking to capture generalized deprivation. Finally, the chapter looks at the extent to which different dimensions of deprivation are correlated with each other and how frequently they are to be found together in households experiencing multiple deprivation.

Keywords: non-monetary indicators; deprivation dimensions; European Community Household Panel; living conditions; dimensional structure; income; social class; consumption deprivation

Chapter.  9454 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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