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Measuring the size and impact of public cash support for children in cross-national perspective


  • Francesco Figari
  • Alari Paulus
  • Holly Sutherland


We suggest a new comprehensive measure of support given through tax-benefit systems to families with children. Using microsimulation techniques, this accounts for all provisions contingent on the presence of children, while usually only gross child/family benefits are considered. We use EUROMOD, the European Union tax-benefit microsimulation model, to quantify the support for children and analyse its impact on household incomes and child poverty for 19 countries. We find that the conventional approach underestimates on average the total amount of support for children by about one fifth. Furthermore, the differences between the two measures vary considerably across countries and are, therefore, critical for cross-national comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Figari & Alari Paulus & Holly Sutherland, 2009. "Measuring the size and impact of public cash support for children in cross-national perspective," Working Papers 024, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  • Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Andrea Brandolini, 2006. "Measurement of Income Distribution in Supranational Entities: The Case of the European Union," LIS Working papers 452, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tine Hufkens & Gerlinde Verbist, 2016. "The distributive effects of work-family life policies in European welfare states," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/09, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Goedemé, Tim & Van den Bosch, Karel & Salanauskaite, Lina & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2013. "Testing the statistical significance of microsimulation results: often easier than you think. A technical note," EUROMOD Working Papers EM18/13, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Michael F. Förster & Gerlinde Verbist, 2012. "Money or Kindergarten? Distributive Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Family Transfers for Young Children," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 135, OECD Publishing.
    4. Inmaculada Herranz Aguayo & Eduardo Díaz Herráiz & Elsa Montenegro Marques & Idalina Machado & Sidalina Almeida, 2016. "Child at Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion: Comparative View Between Spain and Portugal in the European Context," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 961-978, December.

    More about this item


    children; taxes and cash benefits; child poverty; European Union; microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies


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