Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The working poor: a comparative analysis

Gundogan, Naci and Bicerli, Mustafa Kemal and Aydin, Ufuk (2005): The working poor: a comparative analysis.

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Recently, there is growing debate in developed countries on the issue of the working poor. Poverty is a phenomenon traditionally associated with economically inactive persons such as the homeless, the unemployed or the handicapped. The changing of work patterns and a growing polarisation in the labour market between low or unskilled work and high-skilled work have created new poverty risks amongst the employed population. As a result of this trend, the concept of the ‘working poor’, which gained ground in the United States in the 1970s, has become increasingly applicable to labour market realities in the world. Today, there are around 550 million person who can be classified as the working poor in the world. In other words, one in every five persons in labour force belongs to a poor household. While the problem of working poverty is broadly discussed in the USA, a limited number of studies exist on this issue in the EU and in Turkey. In this paper, this reality will be emphasized and the situation in the USA, in the EU and in Turkey will be compared.

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