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Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries: A Review of the Evidence


  • Virginia Hernanz

    (Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti)

  • Franck Malherbet

    (Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti)

  • Michele Pellizzari

    (Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti)


This report provides an overview of the limited empirical and theoretical research on take-up of welfare benefits, i.e. the extent to which people eligible for various types of benefits actually receive them. Focus is mainly on entitlement programmes, where take-up reflects both decisions of eligible individuals to apply for benefits and the accuracy of administrative decisions as to whether these individuals should get the benefit in question or not. Estimates of the extent of take-up of welfare benefits are based on a variety of approaches, and typically combine both administrative and survey data. Despite these methodological differences, and the very few OECD countries for which estimates are available, the evidence reviewed in this paper suggests that low take-up of welfare benefits occurs both across countries and programmes. Estimates typically span a range of between 40% and 80% in the case of social assistance and housing programmes, and between 60% and 80% for ... Cette étude examine les quelques travaux de recherche, empiriques et théoriques, dont on dispose concernant le recours aux prestations sociales. En d’autres termes, il s’agit de la mesure dans laquelle les personnes potentiellement admissibles à différents types de prestations ont effectivement recours à ces prestations. On s'intéresse tout particulièrement aux dispositifs de prestations pour lesquels le taux de recours reflète à la fois une démarche volontaire de la part des personnes admissibles pour pouvoir en bénéficier et l'exactitude des décisions administratives concernant l'éligibilité ou non de ces personnes aux prestations en question. L’étendue du recours aux prestations sociales est estimée à partir de différentes approches qui, en règle générale, conjuguent données administratives et données d’enquête. En dépit de la diversité des méthodes et du très petit nombre de pays de l’OCDE pour lesquels des estimations sont disponibles, il semble que le taux de recours aux ...

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:17-en
    DOI: 10.1787/525815265414

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    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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