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Europe’s Disappearing Middle Class?

Evidence from the World of Work

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

While recent studies have highlighted the phenomenon and risks of increased inequalities between the top and the bottom, little research has been carried out on trends relating to the middle income range that generally represents the middle class. This volume examines these questions: What are the main transformations in the world of work over the last twenty years in terms of labor market, social dialogue, conditions of work, wages, and incomes that may have affected the middle class? How has the middle class been affected by the financial and economic crisis? What are the long-term trends for the middle class in Europe?

This volume also investigates the risks and effects of the reshuffling or weakening of the middle class. On the social side, what are the ramifications of a further weakening of the European Social Model, to a great extent funded so far by the middle class? On the economic side, is this process—especially from the angles of consumption and human capital—endangering the long-term sustainability of the current economic model? While presenting evidence of a definite erosion of the middle class, this book assesses the specific situation in each EU Member State on the basis of detailed statistics and case studies of professional categories that traditionally represent the middle class.

This book issues a warning about the latest trends and future of the middle class in Europe and presents policy considerations and options useful to policy-makers for ensuring the future of the middle class in Europe.

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