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The Working Poor in Western Europe: Labour, Poverty, and Global Capitalism

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596–613
Number of pages17
JournalComparative European Politics
Issue number5
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Accepted/In press20 Apr 2015
E-pub ahead of print20 Apr 2015
PublishedSep 2015

King's Authors


This article analyses the re-emergence of the working poor phenomenon in Western Europe. Critically engaging with comparative welfare regimes literature on in-work poverty (IWP), it argues that an international political economy (IPE) perspective is key to understanding the economic and international dimensions of IWP. By focusing on three countries belonging to different welfare regimes, namely Britain, Germany and Italy, the article examines the relationship between production restructuring, IWP trends and the nature of work, with particular attention to working-hour dynamics. It argues that the increasing IWP observed in these countries since the outbreak of the global economic crisis is linked to long-term trends in the IPE and to the growth of new competitors, mainly from emerging countries.

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