In Europe, the introduction of the Council Recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee has helped put concerns relating to childhood disadvantages higher up on the policy agenda. Structured around ensuring effective access to a series of key child services, the ultimate goal of the European Child Guarantee is to promote opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and help stop the transmission of poverty and social exclusion across generations. But as European countries move forward with their plans for implementation, it is important to understand what child disadvantage looks like, as well as the potential lifelong effects it can have on children’s lives. This paper explores childhood socio-economic disadvantage in Austria from a comparative perspective. It sketches the breadth and depth of child poverty and material deprivation in Austria today, and discusses the potential longer-run economic costs of childhood disadvantage once disadvantaged children reach adulthood, based on findings from Clarke et al. (2022). It also discusses key policy challenges Austria will need to consider to tackle childhood socio-economic disadvantage.
New OECD surveys of employers and workers in the manufacturing and finance sectors of seven countries shed new light on the impact that Artificial Intelligence has on the workplace —an under-researched area to date due to lack of data. The findings suggest that both workers and their employers are generally very positive about the impact of AI on performance and working conditions. However, there are also concerns, including about job loss—an issue that should be closely monitored. The surveys also indicate that, while many workers trust their employers when it comes to the implementation of AI in the workplace, more can be done to improve trust. In particular, the surveys show that both training and worker consultation are associated with better outcomes for workers.
Being able to swim empowers individuals to make choices, have agency, and be free to choose core aspects of their life, such as working safely on or near water. It is also associated with lifelong health benefits and reduces the risk of drowning. Using data from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll 2019, this paper provides the first global estimates of adults’ ability to swim without assistance. Individuals in high-income countries are considerably more likely to report being able to swim without assistance than individuals in low-income countries. Disparities also exist within countries. In particular, women are less likely to be able to swim without assistance than men in virtually all countries, birth cohorts, and levels of education. Investing in reducing inequalities in life skills, such as swimming, can foster economic development and empowerment, especially in light of threats, such as climate change.
Social protection systems use a range of entitlement criteria. First-tier support typically requires contributions or past employment in many countries, while safety net benefits are granted on the basis of need. In a context of volatile and uncertain labour markets, careful and continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of income support is a key input into an evidence-based policy process. This paper proposes a novel empirical method for monitoring the accessibility and levels of safety net benefits. It focusses on minimum-income benefits (MIB) and other non-contributory transfers and relies on data on the amounts of cash support that individuals in need receive in practice. Results show that accessibility and benefit levels differ enormously across countries – for instance, in 2015/16, more than four out of five low-income workless one-person households received MIB in Australia, France and the United Kingdom, compared to only one in five in Greece, Italy and Korea, three countries that have since sought to strengthen aspects of safety-net provisions.
While income inequality in Austria is relatively low compared to many other OECD countries, social mobility lags behind. Socio-economic outcomes carry over strongly from one generation to the next: more than elsewhere, fathers’ earnings are a strong predictor of the earnings of their prime-age children. This reflects strong persistence across generations in occupational and educational outcomes, particularly for women and migrants. Relative income positions also tend to strongly persist over people’s lives, in particular at the top and bottom. Meanwhile, the middle-income group is polarising, with downward risks rising for the lower middle. Longer-term earnings trajectories (over 15 years) display marked gender differences, with women facing weaker chances of moving up and greater risks of sliding down. This paper identifies policies that promote or hamper social mobility in four domains. First, good-quality early childhood education and care can be a catalyst for upward mobility. Participation rates have significantly risen over the last decade, but still lag those in many OECD countries. Further investment is needed to improve quality and status of formal childcare. Second, tackling low educational mobility in Austria requires ensuring a successful school-to-work transition. Austria provides targeted support for those who struggle, but it could improve funding for disadvantaged schools and consider the appropriateness of 'tracking' students at such a young age. Third, reducing gender inequality in the labour market would greatly improve social mobility. This requires raising incentives for a more equal sharing of family and work responsibilities in the areas of tax policy, parental leave and family and care benefits. Fourth, the Austrian tax and benefit system provides comparatively adequate protection against income shocks. The high concentration of household wealth, combined with the absence of inheritance taxation, however implies that inequalities of opportunity remain large.
This country fact-sheet presents key figures from "Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class". This report analyses the trends of middle-income households in areas such as employment, consumption, wealth and debt, as well as perceptions and social attitudes. It also includes recommendations for protecting middle-class living standards and financial security in the face of economic challenges.
Fast population growth in the city of Vienna is largely related to international migration. Long-standing migrant communities represent half of Vienna’s population. In 2016, 50% of the inhabitants had migrant backgrounds, and since 2015, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the city has increased. Since 1971, the city has developed dedicated administrative structures and local policies for migrants. A dedicated municipal unit (MA17) oversees how departments achieve migration-sensitive standards in their respective policy fields and produces the yearly Vienna Integration and Diversity monitoring report. A good practice is 'Start Wien', a comprehensive coaching and information programme addressing newcomers (including asylum seekers) for the first two years after arrival. After that, foreign residents benefit from non-targeted measures, for instance from a programme fighting labour market exclusion of low-skilled groups. Vienna has avoided high segregation due to its large and well spread social housing. However migrants can only access it after five years of residency in the city, before which they rely on private rental market. Vienna establishes close contacts with migrant associations and NGOs at the district level and engages public consultations when formulating integration concepts. This report sheds light on how the municipality and non-state partners work together with the other levels of government for sustainable migrant and refugee integration.
Important challenges for the future of Austrian well-being arise from demographic and environmental trends. The ageing of the population calls for a fair balance between life-time pension contributions and entitlements, drawing on the recent pension reform.
Austria enjoys strong material well-being and high quality of life. Steady convergence with top GDP
per capita levels translated into decisive improvements in household disposable incomes while significant redistribution has ensured low income inequality and poverty.
Gains in female education attainment have contributed to a worldwide increase in women’s participation in the labour force, but considerable gaps remain in working hours, conditions of employment and earnings. More specific data for Austria are available in this country note.