Changes in Socio-Demographic Situation and Social Convergence
The European Union Candidate Countries, including Estonia, lag behind the European Union (EU) level of economic and social development. By convergence we usually mean harmonisation of the level of incomes across countries. Convergence also means harmonisation of particular economic indicators, equalisation. Social convergence is discussed in the latter meaning. According to the economic theory of convergence, the economic development level of less developed countries should approach the level of more advanced countries with the same economic resources or fundamentals. This paper discusses convergence of social protection expenditure, analyses trends in the economic and socio-demographic situation and respective social policy measures that influence the convergence process in EU countries. Estimates of social protection expenditure in EU countries indicate faster development of countries with lower level of social protection in recent years. Many reforms accomplished there have helped to raise the social protection level in less developed countries. A comparison of social protection expenditure and evaluation of changes there should also characterise the social convergence process between EU countries. Analyses of social trends in EU countries enable to evaluate preconditions that would help the candidate countries, including Estonia, to achieve social convergence with accession to the EU.
|Date of creation:||2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Working Papers in Economics.School of Economics and Business Administration,Tallinn University of Technology (TUTWPE), Pages 171-184|
|Note:||We wish to thank Lisa Wilder of the Albright College for her useful comments and Reet Maldre for the assistance. This paper has been prepared with the support of the project financed by the Estonian Ministry of Education (0341765s01) and the Estonian SF grant 5083.|
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