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Do Europe's Minimum Income Schemes Provide Adequate Shelter against the Economic Crisis and How, If at All, Have Governments Responded?

Author

Listed:
  • Marchal, Sarah

    () (University of Antwerp)

  • Marx, Ive

    () (University of Antwerp)

  • Van Mechelen, Natascha

    () (University of Antwerp)

Abstract

The present economic crisis comes against the background of decades of policy changes that have generally weakened the capacity of social safety nets to offer citizens with adequate resources for financial survival when labour markets fail to do so. Building on data for 24 European Union countries, this paper asks whether EU governments implemented additional measures during the first phase of the crisis to improve safety nets. Our data, drawn from a large network of national experts, show that many countries introduced supportive measures, in particular in the form of additional increases in gross minimum income benefits. More generous child benefits have also helped to increase net disposable incomes of families on minimum income. Behavioral requirements imposed on minimum income recipients have been neither tightened nor relaxed. In a limited number of countries, activation efforts aimed at minimum income recipients have been intensified. Despite some improvements, social safety nets in Europe remain far below widely accepted poverty thresholds, including the EU's own official measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Marchal, Sarah & Marx, Ive & Van Mechelen, Natascha, 2011. "Do Europe's Minimum Income Schemes Provide Adequate Shelter against the Economic Crisis and How, If at All, Have Governments Responded?," IZA Discussion Papers 6264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6264
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eichhorst, Werner & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2008. "Contingent Convergence: A Comparative Analysis of Activation Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 3905, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudiu George BOCEAN, 2012. "Human Resource Compensation In Time Of Crisis," Management and Marketing Journal, University of Craiova, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 0(2), pages 285-292, November.
    2. Katherine Baird, 2015. "Who Did Safety Nets Catch During the Great Recession and How? A Comparison of Eleven OECD Countries," LIS Working papers 620, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Katherine Baird, 2014. "The US Safety Net in an Era of Middle Class Decline: Has it drifted from the poor?," LIS Working papers 617, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. Wang, Jinxian & Van Vliet, Olaf, 2014. "Social assistance and minimum income benefits: Benefit levels, replacement rates and policies across 33 countries, 1990-2009," MPRA Paper 66464, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social policy; crisis measures; poverty; minimum incomes; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management

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