Atlas of inequalities in Europe

Scale and trends in main dimensions of inequality in Europe

The aim of this study is to describe the state and evolution of social inequalities in Europe showing trends during the economic crisis and the subsequent recovery years. Long-run forces that have contributed to rising inequality include globalisation, technological change and labour market deregulation (OECD 2015, Cohen and Ladaique 2018). These forces still continue to shape the income distribution in EU member states during the period between 2008 and 2018. In addition, this period has been characterized by substantial economic fluctuations. The economic crisis in 2009 affected most EU member states, while in the second half of the period studied member states started to recover from the crisis and economic growth resumed. Regarding the entire decade most EU countries have recorded positive economic growth, albeit with important differences. Lowest growth rates were seen in the case of Southern European countries with Greece and Italy recording declining GDP over the decade. Among the best performers – together with Ireland – we find some of the Eastern European countries like Poland, Slovakia and Romania. Thus the convergence process in the EU continued with the least developed member states catching up with the more developed ones.