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Life Events; Longitudinal Research; Poverty Dynamics; Welfare Regimes

Becoming Poor in Belgium and Britain: the Impact of Demographic and Labour Market Events

Caroline Dewilde
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) dewilde

Keywords: Life Events; Longitudinal Research; Poverty Dynamics; Welfare Regimes
Abstract: In this paper, we model the impact on the entry into poverty of a range of demographic and labour market events. Our analyses are based on longitudinal panel data from two countries belonging to a different welfare regime type – Belgium and Britain. The results show that while in Belgium the impact of most life events is relatively small, in Britain most demographic and labour market events significantly raise the chances of becoming poor. We link the observed poverty entry patterns to the ways in which economic welfare in Belgium and Britain is distributed between the three main systems of resources distribution: the welfare state, the labour market and the family. We furthermore find that the combined influence of the interrelated parts of the welfare regime on the role of women in the household economy is a potentially important explanatory factor.