Public Transfers to the Poor: Is Europe really more Generous than the United States?
Fighting poverty is one of the main goals in the most societies. This is usually done by the transferring resources to the poor. There exists a widespread view that the European countries are more generous to the poor than the United States. We study whether this is really the case. Firts we review the evidence on aggregate spending and we do not find convincing support for that view. Secondly, we analyze microeconomic evidence from the Current Population Survey and the European Community Household Panel and find mixed results. In particular, when we use the concept of relative poverty, we find that average transfers per poor person in the United States are 54% higher than in the European Union. When we exclude the old from the sample, this difference reduces to 20%.
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