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Simplicity versus fairness in means testing: the case of civil legal aid


  • Alexy Buck
  • Graham Stark

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


For most state financial benefits, the making of any payment, or its level, depends upon a means test to assess the applicant’s income or wealth. Attempts to make such tests fair often lead to procedures that are complicated to administer and confusing for the applicant. This paper describes the analysis underlying a review of means testing for civil legal aid in England and Wales, to achieve considerable simplification without sacrificing fairness.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexy Buck & Graham Stark, 2003. "Simplicity versus fairness in means testing: the case of civil legal aid," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 427-449, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:24:y:2003:i:4:p:427-449

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hans-Werner Sinn & Marcel Thum, 1999. "Gesetzliche Rentenversicherung: Prognosen im Vergleich," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 104-140, March.
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    6. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The Value of Children and Immigrants in a Pay-As-You-Go Pension System: A Proposal For a Partial Transition to a Funded System," CEPR Discussion Papers 1734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    8. David Blake, 2002. "The United Kingdom: Examining the Switch from Low Public Pensions to High-Cost Private Pensions," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Pension Reform in Europe, pages 317-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Daniele Franco, 2002. "Italy: A Never-Ending Pension Reform," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Pension Reform in Europe, pages 211-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Hans-Werner Sinn & Martin Werding, 2000. "Rentenniveausenkung und Teilkapitaldeckung - ifo Empfehlungen zur Konsolidierung des Umlageverfahrens," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 53(18), pages 12-25, June.
    11. Peter Scherer, 2002. "Age of Withdrawal from the Labour Force in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 49, OECD Publishing.
    12. A. Javier Hamann, 1997. "The Reform of the Pension System in Italy," IMF Working Papers 97/18, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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