Social Indicators Research

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 701–726 | Cite as

Operationalizing De-commodification and De-familization Outcomes via the Relative Poverty Approach: An Application to Western European Countries



This article develops an approach with which to operationalise the outcomes of de-commodification and de-familisation processes. Since the de-commodification and de-familisation concepts share an emphasis on ‘a socially acceptable standard of living for individuals’ with the notion of relative poverty, the income-poverty indicator has been adopted to develop pertinent national rates. In particular, since de-commodification outcomes concern people with a socially acceptable standard of living independently of sale of their labour power, the national proportions of individuals with an equivalised disposable income above the poverty threshold who have stopped working have been accounted for. On the other hand, given that de-familisation outcomes regard individuals with a socially acceptable standard of living aside from family relationships, the national percentages of persons who actually live alone, or simulated as living alone, with an equivalised disposable income above the poverty threshold have been considered. Moreover, exploiting the equivalised disposable income computation, pertinent micro-simulations are developed to capture the role of the state and the family in de-commodification outcomes, and the contribution of the market and the state to de-familisation outcomes. On the basis of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, an empirical application of this approach is then provided. Specifically, data for 16 European countries were used to compute the above-mentioned national rates. Furthermore, we checked whether our outcome figures exhibited any correspondence with the country-groups deriving from the classic welfare regime typologies or more in general with the measures resulting from the social policy structure.


De-commodification De-familisation Outcome operationalisation Relative poverty Equivalised disposable income 



Preliminary versions of this paper have been presented at the ECSR 20th Anniversary Conference (Trinity College Dublin) and at the Brown Bag Seminars (University of Trento). In this regard, we are grateful for the comments of several participants in these meetings. Furthermore, we would like to thank Davide Azzolini, Carlo Fiorio, Henning Lohmann, Teresio Poggio and Amedeo Spadaro for their very helpful discussions on the various aspects of this article. Especial thanks go to Joan Eliel Madia for his precious technical support. Finally, we are particularly grateful to the two anonymous reviewers who provided very valuable comments on earlier versions of this article.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public PoliciesTrentoItaly

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