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Is Poland a welfare state?


  • Jakub Sawulski


We determine whether Poland is a welfare state by looking at social expenditures as a share of GDP, taking into account that the share tends to increase with the level of income. By this criterion Poland is a welfare state. The share of social expenditure in GDP is high in Poland compared to countries with similar income levels, although still lower than in the majority of wealthier EU Member States. The structure of social expenditure in Poland is marked by high pension expenditure. Education spending is close to the EU average. Low public health expenditure, on the other hand, diverges from EU standards. Following the introduction of the Family 500+ Programme, Poland has become one of the top EU spenders on family policy. The main challenge for social policy is to improve the quality of health care and limit the negative impact of certain types of social expenditure on labour force participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakub Sawulski, 2017. "Is Poland a welfare state?," IBS Policy Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
  • Handle: RePEc:ibt:ppaper:pp022017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Iga Magda & Aneta Kielczewska & Nicola Brandt, 2018. "The “Family 500+” child allowance and female labour supply in Poland," IBS Working Papers 01/2018, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    2. Daniela Vuri, 2016. "Do childcare policies increase maternal employment?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 241-241, March.
    3. Amanda Michaud & Jacek Rothert, 2016. "Inequality, fiscal policy, and business cycle anomalies in emerging markets," NBP Working Papers 253, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
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    More about this item


    welfare state; public expenditure; social expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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