Universalism under siege? Exploring the association between targeting, child benefits and child poverty across 26 countries
AbstractThe long-standing wisdom that universally designed benefits outperform targeted benefits in terms of poverty reduction has come under siege. Recent empirical studies tend to find that targeting is not necessarily associated anymore with lower levels of poverty reduction. In this study, we investigate for a broad set of European countries (1) the relationship between child benefits and child poverty reduction; (2) whether a universal or targeted approach is more effective in reducing child poverty; and (3) the causal mechanisms explaining the link between (1) and (2). In doing so, we take into account the general characteristics of the child benefit system, the size of the redistributive budget and the generosity of benefit levels. In contrast to previous studies, we construct an indicator of targeting that captures the design instead of the outcomes of child benefit systems. We find that targeting towards lower incomes is associated with higher levels of child poverty reduction, conditional on the direction of targeting and the characteristics of the benefit system.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series Working Papers with number 1401.
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Child benefits; child poverty; paradox of redistribution; targeting; universalism; comparative social policy;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
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