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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 1 / 2020 (622), Spring

The Romanian population’s perceptions regarding income inequalities and discrimination

Amalia CRISTESCU
Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania
National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Romania
Ana-Maria GATEA
National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Romania
Eva MILITARU
National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Romania

Abstract. The issue of income inequalities is a priority for the European Union, the more so as, for the last few years, the effects of the economic recession have caused the reversal of the living standards’ convergence tendency and have put more pressure on social security systems. Across European states, the level of income inequality has risen, causing concerns from the standpoint of sustainable economic growth, as well as from the standpoint of social cohesion, the communal sense of belonging, and discrimination. Among the priorities of the Europe 2020 agenda is reducing poverty, but this objective cannot be attained without addressing income inequalities and, implicitly, its effects, such as social discrimination. The analysis we have performed in this article starts from the results of a social survey with 850 respondents. The social survey had the goal of investigating the population’s perceptions and attitudes regarding inequalities, discrimination and vulnerabilities. The results showed that the majority of the respondents believe that their current incomes are not enough to cover even basic needs or only enough to cover basic needs. Monthly income is influenced by gender and place of residence. The highest-earning areas of economic activity are Information and communications and Real estate transactions, while the lowest-earning are registered in Performance, cultural and leisure activities and other service activities. The respondents also generally agree with the granting of social aids and with the fact that these may help reduce income inequalities, however they do not have a favourable opinion of individuals who may be eligible to receive social aid. Regarding discrimination, the results indicated that this phenomenon is most widespread in the areas of work and employment, education and medical assistance, with common individuals, private employers and state institutions being the main actors who discriminate. The respondents believe that discrimination is most often tied to ethnicity, income level, and sexual orientation, the main reason behind discrimination in Romania being a lack of education.

Evidently, the European Union’s concerns in carrying out the process of economic and social convergence are also related to policy areas closely tied to fighting the rise of income inequalities and securing equality of opportunity to a greater degree. For these reasons, studying such phenomena at the level of Romanian society is important.

Keywords: income inequalities, discrimination, sociological inquiry.

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