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The Financial Impact of Government Policies on Families with Children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia

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Abstract

In the presented paper we focus on the two ways in which family policy influences life of the society. Firstly, we discuss incentives that the family policy provides to families when they are deciding about having a child. Secondly, we describe the impact of family policies on standard of living and well-being of the families with children. European countries already acknowledged the fact that increase in the fertility rates would be natural solution of the ageing of the European population and family policy is seen as one of the tools available to achieve higher fertility rates. At the same time empirical evidence suggests that the families with children are overrepresented among the population at risk of poverty and family policy can be seen as an instrument for alleviating the financial burden of the families with children. Presented study compares the impact of the government policies on the net income of families with children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Comparative ana lysis of the birth grants, the maternity allowances, the child-rearing allowances and child allowances in the four examined countries is undertaken followed by the assessment of tax systems in these countries. Second part of the paper is devoted to the discussion of the income situation of the families with children in the four countries and tries to shed light on the impact of family benefit system on the households with dependent children. Our results indicate that family provisions in the Czech Republic and Hungary are relatively generous with the Czech system working simultaneously as a social assistance to poor families and the Hungarian system working on much less of a sliding scale of benefits. Poland provides only very modest financial support to families with children and the burden imposed by the parenthood is much heavier than in the three other countries. Czech and Slovak family support systems are similar in its structure but amounts paid to Slovak families are lower.

Suggested Citation

  • Natálie Švarcová & Petr Švarc, 2009. "The Financial Impact of Government Policies on Families with Children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 048-068, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2009_048
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    1. Marit Rønsen, 2004. "Fertility and Public Policies - Evidence from Norway and Finland," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 10(6), pages 143-170.
    2. Joëlle Sleebos, 2003. "Low Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: Facts and Policy Responses," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
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    4. Deborah Freedman & Arland Thornton, 1982. "Income and fertility: The elusive relationship," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 19(1), pages 65-78, February.
    5. Sobotka, Tomáš, 2002. "Ten years of rapid fertility changes in the European post-communist countries. Evidence and interpretation," Research Reports 02-01, University of Groningen, Population Research Centre (PRC).
    6. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 341-360, December.
    7. repec:dgr:rugprc:02-01 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family policy; income taxation; subsidies; fertility; family benefits;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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