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Alternative Tax-Benefit Strategies to Support Children in the European Union. Recent Reforms in Austria, Spain and the UK

  • Levy, Horacio

    (University of Essex)

  • Lietz, Christine

    (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)

  • Sutherland, Holly

    (University of Essex and DIW Berlin)

We compare three EU countries that have recently experienced substantial but very different reforms of their family support systems: Austria, Spain and the UK. The structure of these systems is different: Austria emphases universal benefits, Spain tax concessions and the UK means-tested benefits. First the paper compares the distributional implications of these three approaches. The recent reforms have reinforced existing structures while increasing the amount of spending for children. The second step is to ask: What would have happened if these countries had transformed the architecture of their systems in either of the other two directions? We use EUROMOD, the European tax-benefit microsimulation model that is designed for making cross-country comparisons and answering “what if” questions such as these. We find that the three factors that can be distinguished – the level of spending, its structure, and the way it impacts in a national context – are all important to varying degrees.

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File URL: http://www.ihs.ac.at/publications/eco/es-185.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by Institute for Advanced Studies in its series Economics Series with number 185.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:185
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. David Piachaud & Holly Sutherland & UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2000. "How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?," Innocenti Working Papers inwopa00/6, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
  2. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  3. Sutherland, Holly, 2001. "EUROMOD: an integrated European benefit-tax model: final report," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Sutherland, Holly & Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 1999. "An introduction to EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM0/99, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  5. Corak, Miles & Lietz, Christine & Sutherland, Holly, 2005. "The impact of tax and transfer systems on children in the European Union," EUROMOD Working Papers EM4/05, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  6. Miles Corak & *UNICEF, 2005. "Principles and Practicalities in Measuring Child Poverty for the Rich Countries," Innocenti Working Papers inwopa05/27, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
  7. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
  8. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  9. Wen-Hao Chen & Miles Corak, 2008. "Child poverty and changes in child poverty," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 537-553, August.
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