External Publication

Why is it so hard to reach the EU’s poverty target?

Why is it so hard to reach the Europe 2020 ‘poverty’ target? What does the poverty indicator actually measure? Why was the Lisbon strategy goal of tackling poverty a failure? Zsolt Darvas analyse the data to show how the Europe 2020 strategy’s poverty indicator essentially measures income inequality, not poverty.

By: Date: March 12, 2018 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Research article in Social Indicators Research

 

The European Union’s Lisbon strategy goal of tackling poverty was a notable failure, while the Europe 2020 strategy’s poverty target is out of reach. Both strategies were based on variants of the ‘at risk of poverty’ indicator, which has an inappropriate and misleading name. We demonstrate theoretically and empirically by cross-section, time series and panel cointegration evidence that the ‘at risk of poverty’ indicator essentially measures income inequality, not poverty.

Our calculations show that even after taking into account the positive impact that expected economic growth should have on material deprivation and low work intensity, the Gini coefficient of income inequality would have to fall by 3.5 points in each EU country if the Europe 2020 poverty target is to be reached, which is implausible.

The ‘at risk of poverty’ indicator does not satisfy standard axioms set in the literature, while the huge differences between national poverty thresholds make the EU-wide poverty aggregate pointless.

The political agreement between EU member states expressed the goal of reducing poverty, not inequality. There are good reasons to aim for lower income inequality, but a political agreement would be needed to set an inequality goal and corresponding policies.

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External Publication

Manufacturing employment, international trade, and China

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Blog Post

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By: Zsolt Darvas, Jan Mazza and Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: October 14, 2019
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Germany’s Divided Soul

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Blueprint

Digitalisation and European welfare states

EU policymakers must find answers to pressing questions: if technology has a negative impact on labour income, how will the welfare state be funded? How can workers’ welfare rights be adequately secured? A team of Bruegel scholars, with the support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, has taken on these questions.

By: Georgios Petropoulos, J. Scott Marcus, Nicolas Moës and Enrico Bergamini Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 9, 2019
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Farewell, flat world

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By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 20, 2019
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Policy Brief

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Memo to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. 'A strategic agenda for the new EU leadership' by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff is the first of our 2019 Bruegel memos to the new presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. Focusing on the most important economic questions at EU level, these Bruegel memos are intended to be a strategic to-do list, outlining the state of affairs that will greet the new Commission.

By: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 13, 2019
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External Publication

Effectiveness of cohesion policy: learning from the project characteristics that produce the best results

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By: Zsolt Darvas, Antoine Mathieu Collin, Jan Mazza and Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 11, 2019
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Blog Post

A European atlas of economic success and failure

Economic growth was diverse across EU regions, yet it is crucial to control for region-specific factors in assessing growth performance. We find that there are rather successful regions in many EU countries, suggesting that the EU can provide a good framework for growth. Yet the worst performers are more concentrated in some countries, suggesting that country-specific factors can play a major role in regional development.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Jan Mazza and Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 3, 2019
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How to improve European Union cohesion policy for the next decade

This policy contribution investigates the performance of the design, implementation and effectiveness of cohesion policy, the most evaluated EU tool for promoting economic convergence. By analysing the effects of cohesion policy on economic growth through reviewing literature, conducting empirical research by comparing regions, as well as considering attitudes and expectations collected through interviewing stakeholders, the authors provide reform recommendations.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Jan Mazza and Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 23, 2019
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External Publication

Global interpersonal income inequality decline: The role of China and India

Without China and India, global interpersonal income inequality in 143 countries was higher in 2015 than in 1988. Has the rest of the world really become more equal?

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 14, 2019
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