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Regional social assistance systems: Why and how targeting policy is introduced


  • T. M. Maleva

    () (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))

  • E. E. Grishina

    () (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))

  • E. A. Tsatsura

    () (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))


The article presents an analysis of certain amendments to regional systems of social assistance for the population since 2013. It has been found that regions more frequently introduce income and nonincome limitations on benefits provided for children and families with children than on benefits for elderly citizens. The income testing mechanism is more frequently used in child welfare measures and much less frequently in social support for elderly citizens. Positive legislative amendments aimed at reducing the inclusion- and exclusion-related errors are more often observed in the sphere of social protection of children. The social support of elderly citizens more frequently encounters with contradictory legislative amendments leading to a reduction in some errors and simultaneously to a growth in other errors. Regions use asymmetric strategies when introducing the mechanism of targeting into the social assistance schemes for children and elderly—some regions give a higher priority to the introduction of target measures supporting families, while other regions choose measures supporting the elderly. In 50% of cases, the inclusion of recipients’ incomes in the social benefit entitlement criteria becomes a tool to cut budgetary expenditures in regions, with the size of assigned benefits shrinking, which decreases the effectiveness of a supporting measure in terms of poverty relief for recipients. In one-third of cases, we can observe a contradictory policy, when the introduction of income testing does not achieve the effect of resource concentration on the poorest groups. In some cases, regions demonstrate examples of more efficient introduction of targeting policy, combining the income requirements with an increase in the sizes of payments. This experience can be used as a model of regional strategies when introducing targeted social assistance.

Suggested Citation

  • T. M. Maleva & E. E. Grishina & E. A. Tsatsura, 2017. "Regional social assistance systems: Why and how targeting policy is introduced," Regional Research of Russia, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 363-371, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:rrorus:v:7:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1134_s2079970517040050
    DOI: 10.1134/S2079970517040050

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    References listed on IDEAS

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