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On the convergence of social protection systems in the European Union


  • Cornelisse, Peter
  • Goudswaard, Kees


Member states of the European Union are autonomous when it comes to the design of their social protection systems. However, they are committed by a Recommendation accepted by the European Council addressing the convergence of social protection objectives and policies. Beside that, it is expected that convergence of social protection systems could come about as a result of economic integration. In this paper we have examined whether such convergence has occurred during the past decades, using data on replacement rates and social expenditure ratios. We find a rather strong trend of relative convergence, but it does not follow that this trend is the result of the European integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelisse, Peter & Goudswaard, Kees, 2001. "On the convergence of social protection systems in the European Union," MPRA Paper 21297, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21297

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lejour, A.M., 1995. "Integrating or desintegrating welfare states? : A qualitative study to the consequences of economic integration on social insurance," Other publications TiSEM eceb51dc-bd45-4570-b81c-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-774, September.
    3. Peter Whiteford, 1995. "The Use of Replacement Rates in International Comparisons of Benefit Systems," Discussion Papers 0054, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
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    Cited by:

    1. Natascha Van Mechelen & Sarah Marchal, 2013. "Trends and convergence of Europe’s minimum income schemes," ImPRovE Working Papers 13/11, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Koen Caminada & Kees Goudswaard & Olaf Van Vliet, 2010. "Patterns of Welfare State Indicators in the EU: Is there Convergence?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 529-556, June.
    3. Kosta Josifidis & John Hall & Valérie Berenger & Novica Supić, 2013. "Eastern Migrations vs Western Welfare States – (Un)Biased Fears," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(3), pages 323-345, May.
    4. Luca MARCHIORI & Olivier PIERRARD & Henri R. SNEESSENS, 2011. "Demography, capital flows and unemployment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011040, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Milena Nikolova & Boris Nikolaev, 2017. "Does Joining the EU Make You Happy? Evidence from Bulgaria and Romania," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 1593-1623, December.
    6. Vojinović, Borut & Acharya, Sanjaya & Próchniak, Mariusz, 2009. "Convergence Analysis Among the Ten European Transition Economies," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 50(2), pages 17-35, December.
    7. Denis Bouget, 2009. "Trends of Social Welfare Systems : From Convergence to Attractiveness, an Exploratory Approach," Working Papers hal-00441889, HAL.
    8. Koen Caminada & Kees Goudswaard, 2005. "Are Public and Private Social Expenditures Complementary?," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 11(2), pages 175-189, May.
    9. Kristina Petrova, 2016. "Stability and Growth Pact Reform and Public Expenditure Structure in the European Union Member States," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 1, pages 33-47, March.
    10. Van Vliet, Olaf & Kaeding, Michael, 2007. "Globalisation, European Integration and Social Protection – Patterns of Change or Continuity?," MPRA Paper 20808, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Van Vliet, Olaf & Nijboer, Henk, 2012. "Flexicurity in the European Union: flexibility for outsiders, security for insiders," MPRA Paper 37012, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Social protection; European Union;

    JEL classification:

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


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