The 2008 financial crisis triggered the first contraction of the world economy in the post-war era. Children and young people, already at a greater risk of poverty than the population as a whole, were among the main victims of the crisis and ensuing austerity in advanced economies, and the countries most severely affected recorded some of the largest increases in child poverty.
In this book talk, Professor Brian Nolan, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity, will discuss the lessons to be learned from examining how the crisis impacted on children across a variety of rich countries, and give his perspective on how to protect children more effectively from future economic crisis.
About the speaker:
Brian Nolan is Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity; Director of the Employment, Equity and Growth Programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School; and Professor of Social Policy at the University of Oxford. He was previously Principal of the College of Human Sciences and Professor of Public Policy at University College Dublin.
His main areas of research are income inequality, poverty, and the economics of social policy. Recent research has focused on trends in income inequality and their societal impacts, the distributional effects of the economic crisis, social inclusion in the EU, top incomes, deprivation and multiple disadvantage, and tax/welfare reform. He has been centrally involved in a range of collaborative cross-country research networks and projects, most recently the Growing Inequalities’ Impacts (GINI) multi-country research project on inequalities and their impacts funded by the EU’s Framework Programme 7.
Recent books include The Handbook of Economic Inequality (2008) which he co-edited with Wiemer Salverda and Tim Smeeding, Poverty and Deprivation in Europe (2011) co-authored with Christopher T. Whelan, The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income (2013), edited with Stephen Jenkins, Andrea Brandolini and John Micklewright, and two co-edited volumes from the GINI project in 2013.
About the book:
The 2008 financial crisis triggered the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Many OECD countries responded to the crisis by reducing social spending. Through 11 diverse country case studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States), the book, Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries, describes the evolution of child poverty and material well-being during the crisis, and links these outcomes with the responses by governments.
The analysis underlines that countries with fragmented social protection systems were less able to protect the incomes of households with children at the time when unemployment soared. In contrast, countries with more comprehensive social protection cushioned the impact of the crisis on households with children, especially if they had implemented fiscal stimulus packages at the onset of the crisis. Although the macroeconomic 'shock' itself and the starting positions differed greatly across countries, while the responses by governments covered a very wide range of policy levers and varied with their circumstances, cuts in social spending and tax increases often played a major role in the impact that the crisis had on the living standards of families and children.