Inequality and Poverty in Greece: Changes in Times of Crisis

  • Eirini Andriopoulou
  • Alexandros Karakitsios
  • Panos Tsakloglou
Part of the New Perspectives on South-East Europe book series (NPSE)


This chapter explores the effects of the Greek crisis on the level and structure of income inequality and poverty. Inequality rose during the crisis. The magnitude of the change varies across indices, and indices that are relatively more sensitive to changes close to the bottom of the income distribution record larger increases. The elderly improved their relative position, while there was substantial deterioration in the relative position of the enlarged group of the unemployed. The contribution of disparities between socio-economic groups to aggregate inequality rose, while the contribution of educational disparities declined. Poverty increased considerably, especially when “anchored” poverty lines are used. The contribution of households headed by pensioners to aggregate poverty declined sharply with a corresponding increase in the contribution of unemployed-headed households.


  1. Anand, Sudhir. 1983. Inequality and Poverty in Malaysia: Measurement and Decomposition. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Andriopoulou, Eirini, Fotis Papadopoulos, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2013. Poverty and Social Exclusion in Greece: Overlaps and Differentiations (in Greek). Athens: INE-GSEE.Google Scholar
  3. Andriopoulou, Eirini, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2011. The Determinants of Poverty Transitions in Europe and the Role of Duration Dependence. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5692. Institute for the Study of the Labor, Bonn.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2015. Once Poor, Always Poor? Do Initial Conditions Matter? Evidence from the ECHP. In Measurement of Poverty, Deprivation, and Economic Mobility, ed. Thesia I. Garner and Kathleen S. Short, 23–70. Vol. 23 of Research on Economic Inequality. Emerald Bingley.Google Scholar
  5. Artelaris, Panagiotis, and George Kandylis. 2014. Mapping Poverty at Regional Level in Greece. Region et Development 39: 131–147.Google Scholar
  6. Cowell, Frank A. 2011. Measuring Inequality. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deaton, Angus S. 1993. Understanding Consumption. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Foster, James E. 1984. On Economic Poverty: A Survey of Aggregate Measures. In Advances in Econometrics, ed. R.L. Basmann and Geoege F. Rhodes, vol. 3, 215–251. Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  9. Foster, James E., Joel Greer, and Erik Thorbecke. 1984. A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures. Econometrica 52 (3): 761–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giannitsis, Tassos, and Stavros Zografakis. 2016. Inequalities, Poverty and Economic Changes in the Crisis Years. Athens: Polis. (in Greek).Google Scholar
  11. Heady, Christopher, Theodore Mitrakos, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2001. The Distributional Impact of Social Transfers in the EU: Evidence from the ECHP. Fiscal Studies 22 (4): 547–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kanellopoulos, Costas N. 1986. Incomes and Poverty in Greece: Determining Factors (in Greek). Scientific Study No. 22. Center of Planning and Economic Research, Athens.Google Scholar
  13. Kaplanoglou, Georgia. 2015. Who Pays Indirect Taxes in Greece? From EU Entry to the Fiscal Crisis. Public Finance Review 43 (4): 529–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaplanoglou, Georgia, and David Michael Newbery. 2003. Indirect Taxation in Greece: Evaluation and Possible Reform. International Tax and Public Finance 10 (5): 511–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2008. Horizontal Inequity and Vertical Redistribution with Indirect Taxes: The Greek Case. Fiscal Studies 29 (2): 257–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaplanoglou, Georgia, and Vassilis T. Rapanos. 2016. Evolutions in Consumption Inequality and Poverty in Greece: The Impact of the Crisis and Austerity Policies. Review of Income and Wealth.
  17. Katsikas, Dimitris, Alexandros Karakitsios, Kyriakos Filinis, and Petralias Athanassios. 2015. Social Profile Report on Poverty, Social Exclusion and Inequality Before and After the Crisis in Greece. FRAGMEX Research Programme Report, December 2014. Crisis Observatory/ELIAMEP, Athens.Google Scholar
  18. Koutsampelas, Christos, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2013. The Distribution of Full Income in Greece. International Journal of Social Economics 40 (4): 311–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koutsogeorgopoulou, Vassiliki, Manos Matsaganis, Chrysa Leventi, and Jan-David Schneider. 2014. Fairly Sharing the Social Impact of the Crisis in Greece. OECD Economics Department Working Paper No. 1106, OECD.Google Scholar
  20. Lambert, Peter J. 2002. The Distribution and Redistribution of Income: A Mathematical Analysis. 3rd ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lazaridis, P, T. Papailias, and M. Sakelis. 1989. The Distribution of Income in Greece (in Greek). Agricultural Economy Studies No 35, Agricultural Bank of Greece, Athens.Google Scholar
  22. Leventi, Chrysa. 2015. Distributional Implications of Public Policies in Greece. PhD diss., Athens University of Economics and Business.Google Scholar
  23. Matsaganis, Manos, and Chrusa Leventi. 2013. The Distributional Impact of the Greek Crisis in 2010. Fiscal Studies 34 (1): 83–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matsaganis, Manos, and Chrysa Leventi. 2014a. Poverty and Inequality During the Great Recession in Greece. Political Studies Review 12 (2): 209–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2014b. The Distributional Impact of Austerity and the Recession in Southern Europe. South European Society and Politics 19 (3): 393–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Matsaganis, Manos, Chrysa Leventi, Eleni Kanavitsa, and Maria Flevotomou. 2017. Effective Policies for the Alleviation of Extreme Poverty (in Greek). Athens: diaNEOsis.Google Scholar
  27. Mitrakos, Theodore. 2014. Inequality, Poverty and Social Welfare in Greece: Distributional Effects of Austerity. Bank of Greece Working Paper No. 174, Athens.Google Scholar
  28. Mitrakos, Theodore, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2000. Changes in Aggregate Inequality and Poverty in Greece after the Restoration of Democracy. Meletes Oekonomikis Politikis 5: 1–52.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 2012a. Inequality, Poverty and Social Welfare in Greece: From the Restoration of Democracy to the Current Economic Crisis. In Social Policy and Social Cohesion in Greece in Conditions of Economic Crisis, 23–63. Athens: Bank of Greece.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2012b. Inequality and Poverty in Greece: Myths, Realities and Crisis. In Reforming Greece: Sisyphean Task or Herculean Challenge? ed. Othon Anastasakis and Dorian Singh, 90–99. Oxford: SEESOX Book Series on Current Affairs.Google Scholar
  31. Papatheodorou, Christos. 1998. Inequality in Greece: An Analysis by Income Source. Distributional Analysis Research Programme Discussion Paper No 39. LSE-STICERD, London.Google Scholar
  32. Papatheodorou, Chistos. 2006. The Structure of Household Income and the Distributional Impact of Income Taxes and Social Security Contributions. In Social Policy in Greece, ed. Elias Mossialos and Maria Petmesidou, 126–143. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  33. Papatheodorou, Christos, Yianis Dafermos, Svet Danchev, and Emilia Marsellou. 2008. Economic Inequality and Poverty in Greece: Comparative Analysis and Inter-temporal Trends. Scientific Report/1 December 2008. Observatory of Economic and Social Developments, INE-GSEE, Athens (in Greek).Google Scholar
  34. Papatheodorou, Christos, and Maria Petmesidou. 2006. Poverty Profiles and Trends. How do Southern European Countries Compare with Each Other? In Poverty and Social Deprivation in the Mediterranean Area, ed. Christos Papatheodorou and Maria Petmesidou, 47–94. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  35. Pashardes, Panos. 1980. Income Distribution, the Structure of Consumer Expenditure and Development Policy. Journal of Development Studies 16 (2): 224–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Paulus, Alari, Holly Sutherland, and Panos Tsakloglou. 2010. The Distributional Impact of in Kind Public Benefits in European Countries. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 29 (2): 243–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reinhart, Carmen M., and Kenneth S. Rogoff. 2009. This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Sarris, Alexandros H., and Stavros Zografakis. 1993. Changes in the Composition and Distribution of Income in Greece During a Period of Structural Adjustments. In Macroeconomic Management and Development Bottlenecks, ed. Tasos Giannitsis. Athens: Gutenberg (in Greek).Google Scholar
  39. Seidl, Christian. 1988. Poverty Measurement: A Survey. In Welfare and Efficiency in Public Economics, ed. Dieter Bos, Manfred Rose, and Christian Seidl, 71–147. Berlin: Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sen, Amartya K. 1995. Inequality Reexamined. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shorrocks, Anthony F. 1980. The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures. Econometrica 48 (3): 613–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tsakloglou, Panos. 1990. Aspects of Poverty in Greece. Review of Income and Wealth 36 (4): 381–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ———. 1992. Multivariate Decomposition of Inequality: Greece 1974, 1982. Greek Economic Review 14: 89–102.Google Scholar
  44. ———. 1993. Aspects of Inequality in Greece: Measurement, Decomposition and Inter-temporal Change: 1974, 1982. Journal of Development Economics 40 (1): 53–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. ———. 1997. Changes in Inequality in Greece in the 1970s and the 1980s. In Changing Patterns in the Distribution of Economic Welfare. An International Perspective, ed. Peter Gottschalk, Bjorn Gustafsson, and Edward Palmer, 154–183. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Tsakloglou, Panos, and Theodore Mitrakos. 1997. An Anatomy of Inequality: Greece 1988. Bulletin of the International Statistical Institute 57: 595–598.Google Scholar
  47. ———. 1998. On the Distributional Impact of Excise Duties: Evidence from Greece. Public Finance/Finances Publiques 53: 78–101.Google Scholar
  48. ———. 2000. Decomposing Inequality under Alternative Concepts of Resources: Greece 1988. Journal of Income Distribution 8 (2): 241–253.Google Scholar
  49. ———. 2006. Inequality and Poverty in Greece in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century. In Social Policy in Greece, ed. Elias Mossialos and Maria Petmesidou, 126–143. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  50. Tsakloglou, Panos, and Giota Panopoulou. 1998. Who are the Poor in Greece? Analysing Poverty under Alternative Concepts of Resources and Equivalence Scales. Journal of European Social Policy 8 (3): 229–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eirini Andriopoulou
    • 1
  • Alexandros Karakitsios
    • 1
  • Panos Tsakloglou
    • 2
  1. 1.Council of Economic AdvisorsAthensGreece
  2. 2.Athens University of Economics and BusinessAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations