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Patterns of welfare state indicators in the EU: Is there convergence?

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  • Caminada, Koen
  • Goudswaard, Kees
  • Van Vliet, Olaf

Abstract

Convergence of social protection objectives and policies in member states is an explicit objective of the EU. Earlier research has shown that there has indeed been a tendency of convergence of social protection levels over the last decades. However, comparative studies of welfare states frequently use indicators which may not be representative as measures of the level or generosity of benefits in different countries. In this paper we have done several σ- and β-convergence tests with the most recent data, using a variety of indicators of social protection: social expenditures, both at the macro and at the program level, replacement rates of unemployment benefits and social assistance benefits and poverty indicators. Together, these indicators provide a more broad picture of the evolution of social protection. Our results are less clear cut than earlier findings. We still find a quite strong convergence of social expenditure in EU-countries over a longer period. However, this trend seems to have stagnated in recent years. The evidence is mixed for the other indicators. Replacement rates of unemployment benefits clearly converged to a higher level, but social assistance benefits and poverty rates do not show a trend of convergence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 20177.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20177

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Keywords: welfare states; convergence; Europeanization; social indicators;

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References

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  1. Peter Whiteford, 1995. "The Use of Replacement Rates in International Comparisons of Benefit Systems," Discussion Papers 0054, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  2. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
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  4. Van Vliet, Olaf & Kaeding, Michael, 2007. "Globalisation, European Integration and Social Protection – Patterns of Change or Continuity?," MPRA Paper 20808, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2001. "International trends in income inequality and social policy," MPRA Paper 20181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Frank Vandenbroucke & Koen Vleminckx, 2011. "Disappointing poverty trends : is the social investment state to blame? An exercise in soul-searching for policy-makers," Working Papers 1101, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Kosta Josifidis & John Hall & Valérie Berenger & Novica Supić, 2013. "Eastern Migrations vs Western Welfare States – (Un)Biased Fears," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(3), pages 323-345, May.
  3. Francesco Figari & Matsaganis, M. & Holly Sutherland, 2011. "GINI DP 2: Are European Social Safety Nets Tight Enough? Coverage and adequacy of minimum income schemes in 14 EU countries," GINI Discussion Papers 2, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  4. Olivier Pintelon, 2012. "Welfare State Decommodification: Concepts, Operationalizations and Long-term Trends," Working Papers 1210, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  5. Van Vliet, Olaf & Nijboer, Henk, 2012. "Flexicurity in the European Union: flexibility for outsiders, security for insiders," MPRA Paper 37012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Paetzold, Jörg, 2012. "The Convergence of Welfare State Indicators in Europe: Evidence from Panel Data," Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012-4, University of Salzburg.
  7. Bea Cantillon & Natascha Van Mechelen & Olivier Pintelon & Aaron Van den Heede, 2012. "Household Work Intensity and the Adequacy of Social Protection in the EU," Working Papers 1204, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  8. Natascha Van Mechelen & Sarah Marchal, 2013. "Trends and convergence of Europe’s minimum income schemes," ImPRovE Working Papers 13/11, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

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