Advertisement

Material Deprivation and Working Poor in Hong Kong

  • Kelvin Chi-Kin CheungEmail author
  • Wai-Sum Chan
  • Kee-Lee Chou
Article
  • 66 Downloads

Abstract

In-work poverty is a growing problem in many developed economies. In Hong Kong, there were 200,700 working poor households in 2016, and approximately half of the total poor population in Hong Kong was living in those working poor households. A growing body of literature has examined the problem of the working poor, but most studies have used relative income as a measure of poverty. In this paper, we adopt the material deprivation approach for assessing the poverty situation of in-work poverty households in Hong Kong. We have interviewed 3565 workers in Hong Kong during a survey conduct in 2016. We compare the results of the material deprivation approach with those of the income poverty approach and evaluate the adequacy of the official income poverty line in gauging the situation of in-work poverty. Our findings reinforce existing studies indicating that deprivation offers an important complement to the income poverty line in poverty analysis. Our results show that there is a moderate overlap between workers identified as poor by the deprivation approach and by the income poverty line. And these two groups of workers have very different profiles. The results provide important policy implications for alleviating poverty among the working poor in Hong Kong.

Keywords

In-work poverty Material deprivation Hong Kong 

Notes

Funding

This work was funded by the Research Grant Council, General Research Funding Scheme (18401314).

References

  1. Alkire, S., & Foster, J. (2011). Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. Journal of public economics, 95(7), 476–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ambert, A. M. (2006). One parent families: Characteristics, causes, consequences, and issues. Ottawa: The Vanier Institute of the Family.Google Scholar
  3. Anand, S., & Sen, A. (1997). Concepts or human development and poverty! A multidimensional perspective. United Nations Development Programme, Poverty and Human Development: Human Development Papers, 1–20.Google Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, J., & Finch, N. (2003). Overlaps in dimensions of poverty. Journal of Social Policy, 32(4), 513–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brady, D., Fullerton, A. S., & Cross, J. M. (2010). More than just nickels and dimes: A cross-national analysis of working poverty in affluent democracies. Social Problems, 57(4), 559–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buchel, F., Mertens, A., & Orsini, K. (2003). Is mothers’ employment an effective means to fight family poverty? Empirical evidence from seven European countries. Luxembourg Income Study Working Papers Series No. 363. Luxembourg: LIS.Google Scholar
  7. Burkhauser, R. V., Couch, K. A., & Glenn, A. J. (1995). Public policies for the working poor: The earned income tax credit versus minimum wage legislation. Discussion Paper no. 1074-95. Madison, Wisconcsin: Institute for Research on Poverty.Google Scholar
  8. Census and Statistics Department. (2017). 2016 Population by-census thematic report: Household income distribution in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong SAR Government.Google Scholar
  9. Cheung, K. C. K. (2015). Child poverty in Hong Kong single-parent families. Child Indicators Research, 8(3), 517–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheung, K. C. K., & Chou, K. L. (2016). Working poor in Hong Kong. Social Indicators Research, 129(1), 317–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheung, K. C. K., & Chou, K. L. (2017). Measuring child poverty in Hong Kong: Sensitivity to the choice of equivalence scale. Social Indicators Research, 139, 909–921.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-017-1768-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chou, K. L., Cheung, K. C. K., Lau, M. K. W., & Sin, T. C. H. (2014). Trends in child poverty in Hong Kong immigrant families. Social Indicators Research, 117(3), 811–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chzhen, Y., & Bradshaw, J. (2012). Lone parents, poverty and policy in the European Union. Journal of European Social Policy, 22(5), 487–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Commission, European. (2012). Employment and social developments in Europe 2011. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  15. Cooke, G., & Lawton, K. (2008). Working out of poverty: A study of the low-paid and the ‘working poor’. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.Google Scholar
  16. Coontz, S., & Folbre, N. (2002). Marriage, Poverty, and Public Policy. A Discussion Paper from the Council on Contemporary Families. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Contemporary Families, New York, April 26–28, 2002Google Scholar
  17. Coulter, F. A., Cowell, F. A., & Jenkins, S. P. (1992). Differences in needs and assessment of income distributions. Bulletin of economic Research, 44(2), 77–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crettaz, E. (2011). Fighting working poverty in post-industrial economies: Causes trade-offs and policy solutions. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crettaz, E. (2015). Poverty and material deprivation among European workers in times of crisis. International Journal of Social Welfare, 24(4), 312–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Crowley, M., Lichter, D. T., & Qian, Z. (2006). Beyond gateway cities: Economic Restructuring and poverty among mexican immigrant families and children. Family Relations, 55(3), 345–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Darity, J. W. A., & Mason, P. L. (1998). Evidence on discrimination in employment: Codes of color, codes of gender. The Journal of Economic Perspective, 12(2), 63–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davies, H., & Joshi, H. (1998). Gender and income inequality in the UK 1968–1990: The feminization of earnings or of poverty. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 161(1), 33–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dickes, P., Fusco, A., & Marlier, E. (2010). Structure of National Perceptions of Social Needs Across EU Countries. Social Indicators Research, 95(1), 143–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Fleury, D., & Fortin, M. (2006). When working is not enough to escape poverty: An analysis of Canada’s working poor. Government of Canada.Google Scholar
  26. García-Quero, F., & Guardiola, J. (2017). Economic poverty and happiness in Rural Ecuador: The importance of Buen Vivir (Living Well). Applied Research in Quality of Life, 13, 1–18.Google Scholar
  27. Goerne, A. (2011). A comparative analysis of in-work poverty in the European Union. In N. Fraser, R. Gutiérrez, & R. Peña-Casas (Eds.), Working poverty in Europe: A comparative approach (pp. 15–45). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gordon, D. (2006). The concept and measurement of poverty. In C. Pantazis, D. Gordon, & R. Levitas (Eds.), Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The Millennium Survey. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gough, I., Bradshaw, J., Ditch, J., Eardley, T., & Whiteford, P. (1997). Social assistance in OECD countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 7(1), 17–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grimshaw, D. (2011). What do we know about low-wage work and low-wage workers? Analysing the definitions, patterns, causes and consequences in international perspective. Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 28. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  31. Gross-Manos, D. (2015). Material deprivation and social exclusion of children: Lessons from measurement attempts among children in Israel. Journal of Social Policy, 44(1), 102–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Haisken-DeNew, J. P., & Sinning, M. (2007). Social deprivation and exclusion of immigrants in Germany. SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research.Google Scholar
  33. Halleröd, B. (1995). The truly poor: Direct and indirect consensual measurement of poverty in Sweden. Journal of European Social Policy, 5(2), 111–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hick, R. (2013). Poverty, preference or pensioners? Measuring material deprivation in the UK. Fiscal Studies, 34(1), 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. HKSAR Government. (2017). Hong Kong poverty situation report 2016. Hong Kong: HKSAR Government.Google Scholar
  36. Hong Kong Council of Social Service (2016). Hong Kong Financial Education Landscape Research Final Report. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Council of Social Service.Google Scholar
  37. Julian, T., & Kominski, R. (2011). Education and synthetic work-life earnings estimates—American community survey reports. US Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  38. Kingdon, G. G., & Knight, J. (2006). Subjective well-being poverty vs. income poverty and capabilities poverty? The Journal of Development Studies, 42(7), 1199–1224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lam, K. C., & Liu, P. W. (1998). Immigration, population heterogeneity, and earnings inequality in Hong Kong. Contemporary Economic Policy, 16(3), 265–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lam, K. C., & Liu, P. W. (2002). Relative returns to skills and assimilation of immigrants in Hong Kong. Pacific Economic Review, 7(2), 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lee, E. W. Y. (2005). The renegotiation of the social pact in Hong Kong: Economic globalisation, socio-economic change, and local politics. Journal of Social Policy, 34(02), 293–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Legislative Council Secretarist. (2017). Statistical Highlights ISSH20/16-17. Hong Kong: Legislative Council.Google Scholar
  43. Lichter, D. T., Qian, Z., & Crowley, M. L. (2005). Child poverty among racial minorities and immigrants: Explaining trends and differentials. Social Science Quarterly, 86(s1), 1037–1059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Liu, P. W., Zhang, J., & Chong, S. C. (2004). Occupational segregation and wage differentials between natives and immigrants: Evidence from Hong Kong. Journal of Development Economics, 73(1), 395–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lohmann, H., & Andreβ, H. J. (2008). Explaining in-work poverty within and across countries. In H. J. Andreβ & H. Lohmann (Eds.), The working poor in Europe: Employment, poverty and globalization. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  46. Maître, B., Nolan, B., & Whelan, C. T. (2006). Reconfiguring the Measurement of Deprivation and Consistent Poverty in Ireland. Policy Research Series Number 58. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute.Google Scholar
  47. Maitre, B., Whelan, C. T., & Nolan, B. (2003). Female partner’s income contribution to the household income in the European Union. Institute for Social Economic Research Working Papers 2003-43. Colchester: University of Essex.Google Scholar
  48. Modigliani, F., & Brumberg, R. (1954). Utility analysis and the consumption function: An interpretation of cross-section data. In K. K. Kurrihara (Ed.), Post-Keynesian Economics. New Brunswick: Ruthers University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Nolan, B., & Whelan, C. T. (2010). Using non-monetary deprivation indicators to analyze poverty and social exclusion: Lessons from Europe? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 29(2), 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2008). Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  51. Peña-Casas, R., & Latta, M. (2004). Working poor in the European Union. Luxembourg: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.Google Scholar
  52. Piachaud, D. (1981). Peter Townsend and the holy grail. New Society, 10, 419–421.Google Scholar
  53. Pradhan, M., & Ravallion, M. (2000). Measuring poverty using qualitative perceptions of consumption adequacy. Review of Economics and Statistics, 82(3), 462–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Saunders, P. (2015). Tackling poverty in Hong Kong: measurement as a prelude to action. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 23(1), 43–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Saunders, P., & Naidoo, Y. (2009). Poverty, deprivation and consistent poverty. The Economic Record, 85(271), 417–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Saunders, P., Naidoo, Y., & Griffiths, M. (2008). Towards new indicators of disadvantage: Deprivation and social exclusion in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 43(2), 175–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Saunders, P., Wong, H., & Wong, W. P. (2014). Deprivation and poverty in Hong Kong. Social Policy & Administration, 48(5), 556–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shaffer, P. (2013). Q-squared: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in poverty analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2017). Worldwide Cost of Living 2017: A ranking of the world’s major cities. London: The Economist.Google Scholar
  60. Townsend, P. (1979). Poverty in the United Kingdom. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Asian and Policy StudiesThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoChina
  2. 2.Department of FinanceThe Chinese University of Hong KongSha TinHong Kong

Personalised recommendations