Quality & Quantity

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 923–941 | Cite as

Evaluating contemporary social exclusion in Europe: a hierarchical latent class approach

  • Elena PiraniEmail author


In recent years, the concept of social exclusion has received a renewed attention in scientific research, as well as in politics. In this contribution we propose a hierarchical Latent Class (LC) model for the analysis of differences and similarities about experiences and perceptions of social exclusion among European regions. Social exclusion is a situation that affects individuals, and derives from a multidimensional deprivation in several domains of life. In particular, we identify and define an economic, a social and an institutional dimension. The LCs, which structure the individuals with respect to a set of observed indicators, represent different typologies of social exclusion at individual level according to the three identified dimensions. The regional differences in the latent variable distribution are modeled following a nonparametric approach for the random effects. This multilevel extension leads to the identification of a typology of regions, allowing different social exclusion structures to stand out for different European areas. The hierarchical latent class approach proves to be profitable in investigating the relevance of different risk factors of social exclusion and their relationships, and in verifying whether, and to what extent, the same risks and disadvantages determine the same perception of marginalization and exclusion in different political, economic, social and cultural contexts. The analysis is carried out using the 56.1-2001 Eurobarometer Survey, which focused on poverty and social exclusion situations, from both a subjective and an objective point of view.


Social exclusion European regions Hierarchical latent class models Individual and regional profiles 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Statistics “G. Parenti”University of FlorenceFirenzeItaly

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