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The distributional impact of social transfers in the European Union: evidence from the ECHP

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  • Christopher Heady
  • Theodore Mitrakos
  • Panos Tsakloglou

Abstract

Social transfers vary enormously across the European Union, as has been demonstrated in earlier research. This paper analyses the comparative effects of these transfers on inequality and poverty, using consistent household data. The analysis shows that the distributional impact of these transfers is greater in countries that spend a higher proportion of their GDP on them, but that there are other important determinants, including the extent of means testing, the distribution of funds between different types of transfer and the degree of targeting for each transfer. It also shows that effective targeting can be achieved without high levels of means testing.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Heady & Theodore Mitrakos & Panos Tsakloglou, 2001. "The distributional impact of social transfers in the European Union: evidence from the ECHP," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 547-565., December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:22:y:2001:i:4:p:547-565.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 1824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Almas Heshmati, 2006. "Continental And Sub-Continental Income Inequality," The IUP Journal of Applied Economics, IUP Publications, vol. 0(1), pages 7-52, January.
    3. Fofack, Hippolyte & Monga, Celestin, 2004. "Dynamics of income inequality and welfare in Latvia in the late 1990s," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3336, The World Bank.
    4. Ivica Urban, 2014. "Contributions of taxes and benefits to vertical and horizontal effects," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(3), pages 619-645, March.
    5. Immervoll, Herwig & Richardson, Linda, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," IZA Discussion Papers 6030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Miles Corak & Christine Lietz & Holly Sutherland, 2005. "The Impact of Tax and Transfer Systems on Children in the European Union," Papers inwopa05/30, Innocenti Working Papers.
    7. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "Data Issues and Databases Used in Analysis of Growth, Poverty and Economic Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1263, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Iryna Kyzyma & Donald R. Williams, 2017. "Public cash transfers and poverty dynamics in Europe," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 485-524, March.
    9. Tim Callan & Tim Smeeding & Panos Tsakloglou, 2008. "Short-run distributional effects of public education transfers to tertiary education students in seven European countries," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 275-288.
    10. Thomas Moutos & William Scarth, 2003. "Some Macroeconomic Consequences of Basic Income and Employment Subsidies," CESifo Working Paper Series 916, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Enrico Fabrizi & Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Silvia Pacei, 2014. "A Micro-Econometric Analysis of the Antipoverty Effect of Social Cash Transfers in Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 323-348, June.
    12. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "The World Distribution of Income and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1267, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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.
    14. Andriopoulou, Eirini & Karakitsios, Alexandros & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2017. "Inequality and poverty in Greece: Changes in times of crisis," GLO Discussion Paper Series 119, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    15. Callan, Tim & Keeney, Mary J. & Nolan, Brian & Maitre, Bertrand, 2004. "Why is Relative Income Poverty so High in Ireland?," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS53.
    16. Bea Cantillon & Karel van den Bosch & Ive Marx, 2002. "The Puzzle of Egalitarianism: About the Relationships between Employment, Wage Inequality, Social Expenditures and Poverty," LIS Working papers 337, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    17. Katja Hölsch, 2002. "The Effect of Social Transfers in Europe: An Empirical Analysis Using Generalized Lorenz Curves," LIS Working papers 317, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    18. Fotis Papadopoulos & Panos Tsakloglou, 2015. "Chronic material deprivation and long-term poverty in Europe in the pre-crisis period," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/16, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    19. M. Collado & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe, 2010. "Public transfers to the poor: is Europe really much more generous than the United States?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(6), pages 662-685, December.
    20. Tim Callan & Tim Smeeding & Panos Tsakloglou, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Public Education Transfers in Seven European Countries," Papers WP207, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    21. Milanovic, Branko, 2007. "Ethical case and economic feasibility of global transfers," MPRA Paper 2587, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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