An international comparison of the impact of child benefits on poverty outcomes for single mothers
AbstractSingle mothers are vulnerable to living in poverty in contemporary European societies, which translates into economic dependency and threatens women’s capacity to form autonomous households. Given their difficulties to engage in paid employment in a context of increasing dual earnership, the question how to safeguard the economic status of single mothers is a crucial one. In this article we address this issue by focusing on child benefits and exploring their impact on the poverty risk of single mothers in 15 European countries. In doing so, we combine two methodological traditions and devote specific attention to the design of child benefit systems in Europe which adds to the universality versus targeting-debate. We find that child benefits play a major role in complementing the household income of single mothers but that the poverty-reducing impact differs greatly between countries, depending on the generosity and the design of the benefit system. We also find that designing a single mother-friendly child benefit system does not necessarily come at a great cost. Our results demonstrate that a well-designed child benefit system has the potential to play a crucial role in strengthening women’s autonomy.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series Working Papers with number 1203.
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
autonomy; child benefits; comparative; poverty; single mothers; universalism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-07-23 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-EUR-2012-07-23 (Microeconomic European Issues)
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- Mechelen, N. (Natascha) van & Bradshaw, J. (Jonathan), 2012. "GINI DP 50: Child Poverty as a Government Priority: Child Benefit Packages for Working Families, 1992-2009," GINI Discussion Papers 50, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
- repec:aia:ginidp:dp50 is not listed on IDEAS
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