Unemployment Shocks and Material Deprivation in the European Union

Working Paper 2022-603


This paper analyzes how material deprivation responds to drastic changes in unemployment levels. We explore unemployment shocks registered in some European Union countries during the so-called Great Recession. To do so, we apply the synthetic control methodology, which has been rarely used in the field of distributive analyses. We use this approach to identify the impact of unemployment shocks on material deprivation and conduct different sensitivity analyses to test the results. We find that contrary to the traditional assumption of the low sensitivity of material deprivation measures to changes in the economic cycle, unemployment shocks have a significant and rapid impact on material deprivation. This conclusion holds even when extending the period of analysis, changing the indicator of material deprivation, or modifying the definition of unemployment shock.

Authors: Luis Ayala, Javier Martín-Román, Carolina Navarro.

Keywords: material deprivation, unemployment shocks, synthetic control method, EUSILC
JEL: I32, J64