IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hdl/improv/1514.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A fresh look at an old question: is pro-poor targeting of cash transfers more effective than universal systems at reducing inequality and poverty?

Author

Listed:
  • Abigail McKnight

Abstract

This paper presents findings on the changing effectiveness of cash transfers and income taxes on inequality and poverty reduction in four EU countries – the UK, Italy, Sweden and France. We use long time series (spanning four decades) to examine trends within countries over time and between countries at different points in time. Recent evidence has suggested that the relationship between concentration of cash transfers and their redistributive effectiveness has become blurred over time. We find much more conclusive evidence of a negative relationship within countries over time. The results show a negative relationship between the concentration of cash transfers net of direct taxes and their effectiveness in terms of reducing poverty and inequality. The strength of the relationship varies between countries and in some cases between the all age and the working age populations. The evidence suggests that caution should be applied to relying on bivariate cross-country estimates and that more should be done to establish and verify empirical relationships within countries over time using the rich data sources that are now available. These findings re-open the debate on the most effective design of cash transfer and direct tax systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Abigail McKnight, 2015. "A fresh look at an old question: is pro-poor targeting of cash transfers more effective than universal systems at reducing inequality and poverty?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/14, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1514
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.centrumvoorsociaalbeleid.be/ImPRovE/Working%20Papers/ImPRovE%20WP%201514_1.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Salverda, Wiemer & Nolan, Brian & Checchi, Daniele & Marx, Ive & McKnight, Abigail & Toth, Istvan Gy (ed.), 2014. "Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199687435.
    2. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
    3. Marx, Ive & Salanauskaite, Lina & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2013. "The Paradox of Redistribution Revisited: And That It May Rest in Peace?," IZA Discussion Papers 7414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Ive Marx & Lina Salanauskaite & Gerlinde Verbist, 2013. "GINI DP 82: The paradox of redistribution revisited: and that it may rest in peace?," GINI Discussion Papers 82, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    5. Howard Glennerster, 2014. "Richard Titmuss: Forty years on," CASE Papers case180, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    6. repec:cep:sticas:/180 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; poverty; redistribution; cash transfers; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1514. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tim Goedemé). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/csbuabe.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.