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Fuel Poverty in the European Union: A Multi-Methods Study

Wand, Harriet Rosalind (2015) Fuel Poverty in the European Union: A Multi-Methods Study. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Fuel poverty is an issue that is growing in both recognition and prevalence across Europe, and has been identified as a policy priority by several European Union (EU) institutions, including the European Commission. However, little is known about the historical processes that have led to the adoption of current policy, nor what the nature of discourse has been with regard to defining and measuring fuel poverty. Furthermore, there remains a significant gap in knowledge concerning the incidence and intensity of fuel poverty issues at the household-level across the EU. The main purpose of this thesis is to contribute to an improved understanding of fuel poverty as a policy problem in the EU. It first presents a qualitative analysis of 44 policy documents spanning 2003 to 2014, to determine the extent to which the EU acknowledges fuel poverty, and the existing policy mandates for defining and measuring fuel poverty. Subsequently, a household-level composite index is introduced, based on survey microdata from 2007 to 2011. The remainder of the thesis presents analyses of EU fuel poverty using the new measurement tool. This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge in two key ways. Firstly, it establishes the central role of institutions in shaping fuel poverty policy over time since the term first emerged in a policy document over a decade earlier. This analysis reveals that there is substantial desire among many EU institutions for quantitative assessments of fuel poverty, which has not been addressed thus far. The second contribution to knowledge is a demonstration of the pervasive and enduring nature of fuel poverty in Europe via a new pan-EU composite index. Based on the results, two key recommendations are made: firstly, an operational pan-EU definition of fuel poverty should be created; and secondly, data collection should be radically overhauled.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: fuel poverty, energy poverty, European Union
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.677366
Depositing User: Dr Harriet Rosalind Wand
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016 15:44
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11454

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