This paper proposes an analysis of poverty development in Europe during the recent economic crisis considering policies that have been implemented to fight it. We focus on five countries namely France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK, each of them standing for a social protection model. The rising unemployment that comes along with the economic downturn increases the risk of poverty and challenges European models’ capacity to contain that risk. The joint analysis of pre-crisis situation and of measures implemented in immediate response to the crisis shows that social protection systems that were already at work before the crisis and their relative levels of generosity remain essential in the fight against poverty. Besides, the recent implementation of employment policies centred on “activation” – in spite of that they do not rely on the same principles in all countries – may have had perverse effects on poverty in the context of economic crisis because of their cost-containment goal.
Baptiste Françon, Mathilde Guergoat-Larivière, Socio-Économie du Travail n°33 (Économies et Sociétés, tome XLV), août 2011, p. 1329-1354.