As “resilience” is increasingly used in European policy circles, it is important to acknowledge structural inequalities that are present in the capacity of families to be resilient. In this next working paper, we have developed (a first version of) an inequalities in resilience framework, that underlines inequalities in the capacity of families to anticipate, to absorb and / or to adapt to risks related to work, income and care. The inequalities in resilience framework situates inequalities in risk and resources centrally, and makes a key distinction between ex-post resilience (responding to risks) and ex-ante resilience (in anticipation to risks). The result is a framework that differentiates between two distinct types of inequalities: inequalities in who experiences risks, and inequalities in how well people and families are resourced to respond to those risks.
We show how social policies have evolved in the areas of the labour market, care, and income protection, and provide critical reviews of the literature on these policy outcomes. These reviews showed that the benefits of these policies are unequal along the lines of socio-economic status and family form. In many cases, those who might need social protection most, do not benefit the most from these policies.
In short, we formulated a core hypothesis of the inequalities in family resilience framework, that in the context of a welfare state increasingly relying on activation, individuals and families with the least resources to avoid to risks through ex-ante anticipation, also have the least resources for ex-post absorption of, or adaptation to, these risks to avoid undesirable outcomes.