Family Safety Nets and Economic Transition: A Study of Worker Households in Poland
Can Eastern European families most severely impoverished during the transition to capitalism rely on private family safety nets? This question is likely critical for the transition's success, but little is known about family networks in Eastern Europe. The authors analyze newly available Polish household surveys, conducted both before and after Poland's economic transition, which measure private inter-household transfers. Such transfers are large and widespread in Poland, and in many ways appear to function like means-tested public transfers. They flow from high to low-income households and are targeted to young couples, families with many children and those experiencing illness. Private transfer patterns also suggest that they are responsive to liquidity constraints. The authors' results from 1987 data indicate that private transfers could fill a non-trivial portion of the income gap left by unemployment. However, they also find evidence from 1992 data suggesting that family networks weakened somewhat after the transition. Copyright 1997 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.
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Volume (Year): 43 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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