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Scenarios for reducing poverty in Belgium, Greece and the United Kingdom


  • Tim Goedemé
  • Holly Sutherland
  • Paola Di Agostini
  • Chrysa Leventi
  • Manos Matsaganis
  • Dieter Vandelannoote
  • Gerlinde Verbist


Poverty reduction remains a huge challenge for policy makers in Europe. In this paper, we outline three strategies for identifying effective policy reform packages for reducing income poverty in Europe: (1) reversing regressive reforms and using measures of ‘poverty reduction / public budget trade-offs’ to identify efficient and effective policy reforms; (2) upscaling existing policies; (3) breaking down policies into their elementary parts and combining policy options systematically for identifying the most effective policy design. All three strategies make use of the European microsimulation EUROMOD. We illustrate them with case studies of the United Kingdom, Greece and Belgium, three countries with a very different welfare state trajectory, and social outcomes. The paper shows that all three strategies are useful for identifying policy packages that work, and for producing evidence for more effective poverty-reducing policy reform packages. We also highlight the most important limitations of our approach.

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  • Tim Goedemé & Holly Sutherland & Paola Di Agostini & Chrysa Leventi & Manos Matsaganis & Dieter Vandelannoote & Gerlinde Verbist, 2016. "Scenarios for reducing poverty in Belgium, Greece and the United Kingdom," Working Papers 16/14, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1614

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2006. "Microsimulation as a tool for evaluating redistribution policies," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 77-106, April.
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    3. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    4. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, January.
    5. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Using Differences in Knowledge across Neighborhoods to Uncover the Impacts of the EITC on Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2683-2721, December.
    6. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
    7. Nada Eissa & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 73-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    9. Immervoll, Herwig & Pearson, Mark, 2009. "A Good Time for Making Work Pay? Taking Stock of In-Work Benefits and Related Measures across the OECD," IZA Policy Papers 3, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Holly Sutherland & Francesco Figari, 2013. "EUROMOD: the European Union tax-benefit microsimulation model," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 1(6), pages 4-26.
    11. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
    12. Marchal, Sarah & Marx, Ive, 2015. "Stemming the Tide: What Have EU Countries Done to Support Low-Wage Workers in an Era of Downward Wage Pressures?," IZA Discussion Papers 9390, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Lane Kenworthy, 2015. "Do employment-conditional earnings subsidies work?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/10, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    14. Bea Cantillon & Sarah Marchal & Chris Luigjes, 2015. "Decent incomes for the poor: which role for Europe?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/20, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    15. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
    16. repec:hdl:wpaper:1504 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    Poverty; Europe 2020; EU; social inclusion; social policy; fiscal policy; employment; microsimulation; EU-SILC;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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