GINI DP 55: Struggle for Life: Social Assistance Benefits, 1992-2009
AbstractThis paper looks at the level of the minimum income guarantees for able-bodied persons at working age and assesses benefit trends since the 1990s. Our dataset comprises 25 EU countries (EU27 except Cyprus and Malta), 3 American States (Nebraska, New Jersey and Texas) and Norway. The degree of welfare erosion is measured by three indicators: real benefit trends, benefit trends relative to the development of average wages and benefit trends relative to changes in median equivalent income. We therefore assess net disposable income of families relying on social assistance, taking account of the impact of i.a. child benefits and housing allowances. A central question in this paper is the extent to which trends in social assistance benefit packages are linked to the statutory mechanism that is being used to adjust benefit levels. It appears that most legal systems are quite insufficient to keep benefit levels in line with the general living standard. The broad picture that emerges is indeed one of eroding benefit levels relative to the general living standard, although the trend is less uniformly negative from 2001 onwards. In the 1990s we see the comparative level of welfare of social assistance recipients decline almost everywhere. In many countries social assistance payments have continued to decrease relative to average wages after 2001, although less uniformly so. In the countries where benefits did keep pace with average wages or median equivalent income, this was generally because governments (consciously) increased benefits over and above the evolution of the average living standard, either by a one-time reform, or through subsequent ad hoc raises.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies in its series GINI Discussion Papers with number 55.
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2012-12-10 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2012-12-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2012-12-10 (Microeconomic European Issues)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bea Cantillon, 2011. "The Paradox of the Social Investment State. Growth, Employment and Poverty in the Lisbon Era," Working Papers 1103, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
- Marx, Ive & Marchal, Sarah & Nolan, Brian, 2012. "Mind the Gap: Net Incomes of Minimum Wage Workers in the EU and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6510, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Natascha Van Mechelen & Sarah Marchal & Tim Goedemé & Ive Marx & Bea Cantillon, 2011. "The CSB-Minimum Income Protection Indicators dataset (CSB-MIPI)," Working Papers 1105, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiemer Salverda).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.