Work Package 4: Inequalities & the Resilience of Social Care

Poverty might well be the ”final wave” of COVID-19. The unequal health impact of the epidemic (WP1 and 2) might be reinforced by an uneven economic impact (WP3), threatening the subsistence of those already poor and increasing the risk of becoming poor – the vulnerability – of others.

WP4 investigates the capacity of social care and welfare systems to mitigate the effects of past epidemic outbreaks on the poor and least privileged groups in society. How did the scale, organization and responsiveness of social care and welfare foster the resilience of the most vulnerable groups in society?

EPIBEL will assess:

A) the organisation of social care and welfare provisioning for the poor;

B) the volume and nature of support;

C) the number and societal profile of the recipients;

D) the public debate on welfare policies related to epidemic outbreaks.

Extensive monitoring of poverty and social care from the 16th century onwards, and more intensively from the 19th century onwards, provides us with a wealth of statistical data, which have to be combined with archival research on the distributions and care provided by a sample of local providers (poor tables, charitable foundations, hospitals).