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Europe's Disappearing Middle Class?

Evidence from the World of Work Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, Senior Economist, International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland and Professor, Sciences Po, Paris, France and the University of Geneva, Switzerland
While recent studies have highlighted the phenomenon and risks of increased inequalities between the top and the bottom of society, little research has so far been carried out on trends relating to the median income range that generally represents the middle class. This volume examines the following questions: what are the main transformations in the world of work over the last 20 years in terms of the labour market, social dialogue, and conditions of work, wages and incomes that may have affected the middle class? How has the middle class been altered by the financial and economic crisis? What are the long-term trends for the middle class in Europe?
In Association with the International Labour Organization
Extent: 672 pp
Hardback Price: $215.00 Web: $193.50
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78643 059 5
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Labour Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Economics of Social Policy
  • Labour Policy
While recent studies have highlighted the phenomenon and risks of increased inequalities between the top and the bottom of society, little research has so far been carried out on trends relating to the median income range that generally represents the middle class. This volume examines the following questions: what are the main transformations in the world of work over the last 20 years in terms of the labour market, social dialogue and conditions of work, wages and incomes that may have affected the middle class? How has the middle class been altered by the financial and economic crisis? What are the long-term trends for the middle class in Europe?

This volume also investigates the potential risks and effects of the reshuffling, or even weakening, of the middle class. On the social side, it explores the ramifications of further retrenchment of the European Social Model, which to a great extent has traditionally been funded by the middle class. On the economic side, the book investigates whether this process – especially from the perspective of consumption and human capital – is endangering the long-term sustainability of the current economic model. While presenting evidence of a definite erosion of the middle class, this book assesses the specific situation in each individual EU member state on the basis of detailed statistics and case studies of professional categories that traditionally represent the middle class.

This book issues a timely warning about the latest trends and prospects for the middle class in Europe. On this basis, it presents policy considerations and options that will be useful to policy-makers for ensuring the future of the middle class in Europe. Scholars and researchers of European studies and social policy, especially from a sustainability perspective, will find this volume to be an invaluable reference.
Contributors: J.I. Antón, D. Anxo, T. Barbieri, G. Bosch, P. Courtioux, C. Erhel, K. Espenberg, A. Figueiredo, H. Figueiredo, S. Giakoumatos, P. González, D. Grimshaw, T. Kalina, M. Karamessini, S. Kuypers, B. Maître, N. Maitre, I. Marx, J. Masso, I. Mierina, R. Muñoz-de-Bustillo Llorente, B. Nolan, A. Rafferty, W. Salverda, L.D. Santos, A. Simonazzi, I.G. Tóth, D. Vaughan-Whitehead, R. Vazquez-Alvarez
Contents:

1. Is The World of Work Behind Middle Class Reshuffling?
Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, Rosalie Vazquez-Alvarez and Nicolas Maitre

2. Is The World of Work Stimulating Middle Class Growth in the Baltic States?
Jaan Masso, Inta Mierina and Kerly Espenberg

3. Social Concertation and Middle Class Stability in Belgium
Sarah Kuypers and Ive Marx

4. Transformation in the World of Work and the Middle Class: The French Experience
Pierre Courtioux and Christine Erhel

5. The Erosion of the German Middle Class: The End of the ‘Levelled-Out, Middle Class Society’?
Gerhard Bosch and Thorsten Kalina

6. The Greek Middle Classes Facing an Uncertain Future
Maria Karamessini and Stefanos Giakoumatos

7. Is Hungary Still in Search of its Middle Class?
István György Tóth

8. Middle Incomes in Boom and Bust: The Irish Experience
Bertrand Maître and Brian Nolan

9. The Middle Class in Italy: Reshuffling, Erosion, Polarization
Annamaria Simonazzi and Teresa Barbieri

10. Stagnating Incomes and the Middle Class in the Netherlands: Running to Stand Still?
Wiemer Salverda

11. Still Holding On? Inequality, Labour Market and Middle Income Groups in Portugal
Pilar GonzáLez, AntóNio Figueiredo, Hugo Figueiredo and Luis Delfim Santos

12. Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Changes in the World of Work and the Middle Class in Spain
Rafael Muñoz-De-Bustillo and José-Ignacio Antón

13. The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Middle Class?
Dominique Anxo

14. How Have Middle-Income Households Fared in Unequal Britain? A Focus on Work and Employment Trends
Damian Grimshaw and Anthony Rafferty

Index