Since 2008, Ireland has experienced the most severe economic and labour market crisis since the foundation of the State. These economic and labour market changes have had a stark impact on the standard of living across the Irish population. The rapid deterioration in the labour market, the rising level of household indebtedness and stringent austerity measures to plug the public finance deficit have had a widespread impact yet there is debate about where the heaviest burden has fallen and where the economic stress has been felt most. The paper analyses data from the Survey of Income and Living Conditions for the period 2004 to 2011. The aim of the paper is to develop and test a measure of economic stress, which will capture some of the aspects of the rapid change in economic fortunes on Irish households that are not picked up by income alone. This includes tapping into features of the recession such as debt problems, unsustainable housing costs, and other difficulties associated with managing on reduced household income in a period of uncertainty. In testing such a measure we examine trends over time from boom to bust in the Irish economy and consider how economic stress is distributed across different socio-economic groups. The paper explores the distribution and level of economic stress across income class groups, social classes and the life-course and tests the thesis of ‘middle class squeeze’.
|Publisher||Department of Social Protection Dublin|
|Commissioning body||Department of Social Protection|
|Number of pages||57|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2014|