Il sito del Laboratorio di Politiche Sociali

On the eve of the Eurozone crisis, average living standards in the southern periphery, adjusted for purchasing power, had converged considerably vis-à-vis the rest of Western Europe (EU-15). A few years later, all four countries had lost ground, Greece most dramatically. More recently, the distance seemed to have grown shorter in the case of Portugal and Spain, but longer still in that of Italy and Greece. What are the social implications of southern Europe’s economic decline relative to the rest of the EU? Have poverty and inequality risen in tandem, or have incomes become lower but less unequally distributed? Which social groups were worst affected, and which came out relatively unscathed? Our research investigates changes in the incomes distribution in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece by analysing both the cross-sectional and the longitudinal dataset of EU-SILC. This research is an attempt to shed light not only on how unemployment, poverty and inequality may have risen in the context of austerity and the recession, but also on the differential impact of the crisis by socio-economic group, including re-ranking effects.

Funding period


Research group

Manos Matsaganis, Andrea Parma, Costanzo Ranci

Funding institution

diaNEOsis foundation, Athens




Ranci C., Parma A. & Matsaganis M.,  “The distribution of income drops during the Great Recession and the role of the welfare state in Southern European countries” (XI Conferenza ESPAnet-Italia, Firenze, 13-15 settembre 2018).

Ranci C., Parma A. & Matsaganis M., “The Welfare State and the Middle Class in Southern Europe Under the Crisis” (XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 giugno 2018).

Matsaganis M. “The changing distribution of income in Southern Europe”. Workshop “Southern Europe in crisis: a comparative perspective” (European University Institute, Florence, 29-30 May 2017).



Perez S.A. & Matsaganis M. (2018) The political economy of austerity in Southern Europe. New Political Economy 23 (2) 192-207.