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Table 2 Key definitions or conceptions in in-work poverty research (1965s-2000s)

From: Rethinking the defining contextualization of in-work poverty: the challenge of individualism and globalization

Concept over

Time and space

Key descriptions

Specific context



(1) Male family heads, family income (Greenberg and Kosters 1970; Tella 1971);

(2) Being poor while working (Miller 1970); individual full-time wage earner (Wachtel and Betsey 1972); Low-paid work force (Bluestone et al. 1973); a marginal level of existence (Abbott 1980)

(3) Black, minority workers in low-wage, low-skill Jobs (Nickson and Karp 1974; Frankovic 1976)

(1) Societal: Social protection systems (Family Assistance Plan and Food Stamp Program (FAP-FSP)); sociodemographic structures (ethnicity: black);

(2) Social institutions (academicians)

(3) Individual: well-being, mentality (health)


Low-income Canadians (National Council of Welfare 1987)

Societal: sociodemographic structure (profile of working poor)


Working poor (Scardigli 1970)

National: legal framework (social polices)


Unrewarding employment (Leys 1973)

National: labour markets



(1) Women’s unpaid housework (Moser and Young 1981; Willen 1988); women’s position in informal sector, flexible work (Noponen 1992; De Wolff 2000); immigrate women (Weitzman and Berry 1992); low-waged women workers (Figart and Lapidus 1995)

(2) Survival between work and family: be loving and caring parents and productive efficient workers (Shiu 1989); single-parent with children (Kim 1998)

(3) Economic hardship (Klein and Rones 1989); low-income families (Shapiro and Greenstein 1990); working-poor household (Craypo and Cormier 2000); labouring for Less (Shapiro 1989)

(4) A missing element in welfare reform (Levitan and Shapiro 1987)

(1) Societal: gender; family; health insurance; state-subsidized childcare

(2) National: work and family policies; health care polices; tax polices (Earned Income Tax Credit); labour market (occupational hierarchy);


The uninsured (Darling and Bass 1987)

National: federal policy

Asia Pacific

Female poverty in India (Gulati 1981);

Work long hours for a meagre income (Siddiqui 1990)-Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh

Societal: gender

National and Global: labour law in cross-national analysis