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Social Europe

Living Standards and Welfare States Edited by Richard Berthoud, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex and Maria Iacovou, The Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK
Social Europe analyses the diverse dynamics of the lives of people across Europe. It is the first quantitative analysis of its kind to make a systematic comparison of life chances across the fifteen countries of the EU. This wide perspective enables the researchers to illustrate how social policy regimes interact with personal resources and circumstances to affect people’s well-being.
Extent: 296 pp
Hardback Price: $136.00 Web: $122.40
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 676 6
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  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Welfare States
Social Europe analyses the diverse dynamics of the lives of people across Europe. It is the first quantitative analysis of its kind to make a systematic comparison of life chances across the fifteen countries of the EU. This wide perspective enables the researchers to illustrate how social policy regimes interact with personal resources and circumstances to affect people’s well-being.

Assessing changes in individuals’ lives over time, the study highlights variations in life-opportunities across the EU in the key domains of family, employment and income. The research is based on a new and powerful survey that has followed a large sample of families in each country over a period of years. This ‘longitudinal’ approach provides insights into the processes by which people acquire their social positions over time. The analysis identifies systematic differences between countries, and looks for explanations in terms of the welfare regime or other characteristics of the countries concerned. Thus the ‘micro’ dynamics of personal experience are related to ‘macro’ trends in institutions and policies, social norms and economic conditions.

Identifying the effects of country and of social policy regime on individual outcomes, Social Europe will provide new insights for social scientists, especially those involved in European comparative research, or whose interests lie in the fields of family, employment, income or social exclusion. The book will also appeal to those engaged in the analysis or formulation of social policy, whether at national or international level.
‘Collectively, the chapters offer valuable insights on conducting cross-national comparative research, especially the strengths and weaknesses of the welfare regime approach. They also provide useful case studies that complement the methodological literature on longitudinal analysis.’
– Nick Axford, Social Research Association Newsletter
Contributors: R. Berthoud, M.C. Deding, D. Fouarge, J. Frick, J. Gershuny, M. Iacovou, L.C. Kaiser, R. Layte, M. Lucchini, B. Maître, R.J.A. Muffels, P.J. Pedersen, K.L. Robson, T. Schils, A. Schizzerotto, T.D. Schmidt, C.K. Spiess, W. Uunk, G.G. Wagner, C.T. Whelan
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Patterns of Family Living 3. Transitions to Adulthood 4. Family Effects on Employment 5. Standard and Non-Standard Employment: Gender and Modernisation in European Labour Markets 6. Labour Market Mobility Patterns 7. Unemployment and Welfare Regimes: Measurement, Search Activity and Income Distribution 8. Income and Patterns of Inequality 9. The Dynamics of Income Poverty 10. Deprivation and Social Exclusion 11. Conclusion: Micro-Dynamics and Public Regulation Appendix Index