IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hdl/wpaper/1811.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

To what extent do welfare states compensate for the cost of children? A hypothetical household approach to policy evaluations

Author

Listed:
  • Tess Penne
  • Tine Hufkens
  • Tim Goedemé
  • Bérénice Storms

Abstract

In order to alleviate child poverty, contemporary European welfare states have shifted their focus increasingly towards child-centred investment strategies. However, studies assessing the generosity of welfare states to families with children focus mainly on the role of cash benefit packages, or on government expenditure, disregarding the actual costs families face when accessing essential goods and services. This paper takes a hypothetical household approach to family policy evaluations and aims at contributing to existing studies by: (1) empirically assessing the needs and costs of children across welfare states by making use of cross-nationally comparable reference budgets, while taking into account publicly-provided or subsidized services, (2) simulating the cash benefits that households with children receive through the tax-benefit system, by making use of the new Hypothetical Household Tool (HHoT), and, (3) combining both types of information in order to compare the essential out-of-pocket costs of children between 6 and 18 years old with the simulated cash benefit packages. The paper focuses on six European welfare states: Belgium, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain. We propose a new indicator that can be used to assess welfare state generosity to families with children: the child cost compensation indicator. By making use of this indicator, we show that, even though with important cross-national variation, the out-of-pocket cost of children is generally compensated to a small extent through cash policies. Although support for families is higher at the lower end of the income distribution, for households living on a low gross wage, the income of a family with children is less adequate compared to a similar childless family, and is in many cases insufficient to participate adequately in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Tess Penne & Tine Hufkens & Tim Goedemé & Bérénice Storms, 2018. "To what extent do welfare states compensate for the cost of children? A hypothetical household approach to policy evaluations," Working Papers 1811, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1811
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.centrumvoorsociaalbeleid.be/sites/default/files/CSBWorkingPaper1811_Update.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-221, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Herwig Immervoll & David Barber, 2005. "Can Parents Afford to Work?: Childcare Costs, Tax-Benefit Policies and Work Incentives," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 31, OECD Publishing.
    4. Tess Penne & Irene Cussó Parcerisas & Lauri Mäkinen & Bérénice Storms & Tim Goedemé, 2016. "Can reference budgets be used as a poverty line?," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/05, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    5. Douglas A. Wolf & Ronald D. Lee & Timothy Miller & Gretchen Donehower & Alexandre Genest, 2011. "Fiscal Externalities of Becoming a Parent," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(2), pages 241-266, June.
    6. Wim Van Lancker & Natascha Van Mechelen, 2014. "Universalism under siege? Exploring the association between targeting, child benefits and child poverty across 26 countries," Working Papers 1401, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    7. Tsakloglou, Panos, 1991. "Estimation and Comparison of Two Simple Models of Equivalence Scales for the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 343-357, March.
    8. Matsaganis, Manos & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Levy, Horacio & Coromaldi, Manuela & Mercader-Prats, M. & Rodrigues, Carlos Farinha & Toso, Stefano & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2004. "Child poverty and family transfers in Southern Europe," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Justin Ven & Nicolas Hérault & Francisco Azpitarte, 2017. "Identifying tax implicit equivalence scales," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 15(3), pages 257-275, September.
    10. Maria KARAMESSINI, 2008. "Continuity and change in the southern European social model," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(1), pages 43-70, March.
    11. Alari Paulus & Holly Sutherland & Panos Tsakloglou, 2010. "The distributional impact of in-kind public benefits in European countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 243-266.
    12. Wim Van Lancker, 2013. "Putting the child-centred investment strategy to the test: Evidence for the EU27," Working Papers 1301, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    13. Koulovatianos, Christos & Schrder, Carsten & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "Nonmarket Household Time and the Cost of Children," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 42-51.
    14. Matthew Gray & David Stanton, 2010. "Costs of children and Equivalence Scales: A Review of Methodological Issues and Australian Estimates," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 13(1), pages 99-115.
    15. Virginia Hernanz & Franck Malherbet & Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries: A Review of the Evidence," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 17, OECD Publishing.
    16. Peter Whiteford & Willem Adema, 2007. "What Works Best in Reducing Child Poverty: A Benefit or Work Strategy?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 51, OECD Publishing.
    17. Nelson, Julie A, 1993. "Household Equivalence Scales: Theory versus Policy?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 471-493, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    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:wpaper:1811. 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: (Wim Van Lancker) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Wim Van Lancker to update the entry or send us the correct email address. 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.