This chapter discusses the background and context from which the volume is departing in terms of the evolution of research using non-monetary indicators of deprivation. In reviewing the research literature, it describes the types of indicators employed and their key characteristics, and brings out the various approaches that have been adopted in using them to capture poverty and social exclusion. The specific indicators available in the two core comparative datasets providing such information for EU countries, namely the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) and the more recent European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), are described in some detail. It also discuss the types of conceptual framework into which such analysis can be set, and identifies the key challenges in developing empirical methods that are both more firmly rooted conceptually and succeed in identifying the individuals and households of most interest from a policy-making perspective.
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