Wednesday May 3rd, 2023 ARCO

Intersectionality, GIS tools and social rights: a study on the gaps on European social citizenship

social citizenship rights EUROSHIP cittandinza sociale diritti ricerca research

The growing awareness about the role of social rights as a founding component of European citizenship and cohesion led the European institutions to launch the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), in 2017. In the EUROSHIP Working paper n°27 “Intersectionality and the assessment of gaps in social citizenship” by Mario Biggeri, ARCO’s Scientific Director, Federico Ciani, Inclusive Development Unit Coordinator and Adam Francescutto, University of Florence explore whether and how it is possible to analyse the level and evolution of social rights in the EU by monitoring the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights while adopting intersectionality as an analytical perspective. Second, to verify whether this can be done by using the Social Score Board – a dashboard of 35 indicators that monitors the actual implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights –  as an original information set and then to propose an analysis simultaneously disaggregated by gender and by NUTS2 region (economic division of European territory based on basic regions for the application of regional policies).

This study builds in the work done in EUROSHIP Working Paper n°13 in which ARCO Researchers showed the potential of applying the Multidimensional Synthetic Indicator (MSI) procedure to the Social Score Board to develop the European Social Rights Indicator (ESRI). The main added value of the development of a composite indicator comes from the capacity to measure multi-dimensional phenomena at a unidimensional scale thus facilitating across time and unit comparisons. The development of a composite index can thus be useful to summarise information, attract the attention of decision makers as well as non-technical audiences and raise attention towards the underlying complexity of the ESRI.

An extremely interesting aspect in this respect is the disaggregation of the index both at the NUTS2 level and by gender. This allows to go beyond aggregated analyses at the national level and identify the most vulnerable territories. For example, the analysis shows how the southern part of Italy and Spain and large swathes of Greek and Balkan territory present critical performances with levels of social rights that have often decreased over the last 10 years. At the same time, even traditionally less problematic areas (e.g. North West Italy or parts of France) show increasing fragility. This is compounded by a pronounced divergence in Southern Europe both externally (vis-à-vis the rest of the union) and internally (i.e. between different NUTS2 regions). The gender breakdown, therefore, identifies Northern Europe as a more virtuous area while the gender gap in social rights tends to narrow in Southern Europe but not in Eastern Europe.

Interestingly, the use of GIS tools and data visualisation techniques has proven to be a valuable support to present the main points raised by the analysis. GIS tools and data visualisation techniques allowed to identify the divergent trends across different European macro-regions. Going forward, GIS should be used as a valuable support to deal with the heterogeneities that characterise the European context.

To know more on the analysis and the findings of this study you can read the Working Paper here.