Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Approaches to Empirical Analysis of Social Exclusion: International Comparison

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Approaches to Empirical Analysis of Social Exclusion: International Comparison

Article excerpt

Introduction

Over the recent decades the instruments, developed for assessment of the situation of vulnerable groups and their identification in society, have undergone essential changes. Due to rethinking of the factors of human well-being, the concept of social exclusion (Silver, 1994) was formed in the European countries in the middle of the XX century, in connection with study of poorly protected categories of citizens. In terms of social exclusion, the causes and the consequences of decreasing the people living standards should be sought beyond poverty indicators. The use of the concept enables measuring multiple disadvantages, which are manifested in the shortage of economic and structural resources; and lack of sociocultural participation. Currently, the concept of social exclusion is one of the key instruments of social policy of the European Union (Atkinson, 2004), which in recent decades has been introduced into approaches to its planning and studying in Ukraine (Libanova, 2011).

The concept of social exclusion can be an effective research tool for comparing the different types of social policy efficacy as the main mechanism for preventing the emergence and spread of social exclusion. The concept's implementation in the political and scientific discourses provides an opportunity for international comparisons aimed at finding common and different manifestations, of exclusion in countries with alternative approaches to social policy formation. However, a prerequisite of cross-cultural comparisons is the use of equivalent tools for data collection. Making such a comparison implies the structural similarity of the phenomenon that is studied in different societies.

Economic growth in a country does not automatically mean higher living standards of vulnerable groups, and its benefits do not always reach the poor (Muffels, 2001). Therefore, a countries high level of economic wealth does not necessarily imply reducing the share of those who can be considered as socially excluded. This suggests that there are differences in the level of social exclusion in different countries, regardless of their level of wealth.

Given the above, we can formulate the following research questions:

1) Is social exclusion in Ukraine structurally similar to that in the countries of Central and Eastern and Western Europe?

2) What are the differences in the manifestations of social exclusion, with reference to the countries' level of wealth and its type of social policy (welfare models)?

This paper aims to construct the tool for measuring social exclusion that allow comparison of this phenomenon in countries with different levels of socio-economic development and types of welfare models.

Living standards in a country are largely due to the distribution of governmental social support. Various welfare models envisage differences in levels of providing support to those who are its recipients; and are at risk of social exclusion. Costa Esping-Andersen has identified (Esping-Andersen, 1990), social-democratic (Nordic), conservative corporatist (Continental) and liberal (Anglo-Saxon) models of social welfare. Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research empirically verified enhanced typology, within which the countries with Mediterranean welfare regime (Ferrera, 1996) and a group of Eastern European countries (Kovács, 2002) were further singled out. The empirical typology of the countries was performed by cluster analysis in the space of two dimensions that characterize the pension and social security systems. Measurement of security level provided by both the systems was carried out using a scale that has the following gradations: low, medium and high.

Based on analysis results, the countries were distributed as follows: 1) the socialdemocratic welfare model is characterized by the high scope of general social security systems and the high extent of pension schemes (Sweden, Denmark and Finland); 2) conservative-corporatist welfare model is characterized by medium scope of general social security systems and the medium extent of pension schemes (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria); 3) liberal model features medium scope of general social security systems and low extent of pension schemes (USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Ireland); 4) Mediterranean model is characterized by high extent of pensions schemes, but low scope of general social security systems (Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece); 5) the Group of Eastern European countries features low extent of pensions schemes and low scope of general social security systems (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) (Soede, 2004). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.