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Social transfers and social assistance - an empirical analysis using Latvian household survey data


  • Milanovic, Branko


The author assesses the performance of Latvia's system of social transfers, in three ways: First, he analyzes the incidence (who receives transfers) of pensions, family allowances, unemployment benefits, and social assistance. Per capita analysis shows pensions tending to be pro-rich, and families allowances pro-poor (a finding typical in poverty analyses). Introducing an equivalence scale alters the results and shows all individual cash transfers performing about the same: mildly pro-poor. Next, he examines the performance of social assistance, which is, by definition, directed to the poor. He shows that Latvia's current system is concentrated - meaning that social assistance is disbursed to few households (only 1.5 percent of all households receive it) but among those that do receive it, it represents a relatively high share (20 percent) of income. Households that are systematically"discriminated against"in the allocation of social assistance are urban households living outside the capital (Riga) and those headed by male adults. Third, he looks at the regional allocation of social assistance. The results confirm earlier findings of large horizontal inequalities - that people with the same income from different parts of the country are treated unequally, because the existing system is based on local financing of social assistance.

Suggested Citation

  • Milanovic, Branko, 2000. "Social transfers and social assistance - an empirical analysis using Latvian household survey data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2328, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2328

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    Cited by:

    1. Tiiu Paas & Marit Hinnosaar & Jaan Masso & Orsolya Szirko, 2004. "Social Protection Systems In The Baltic States," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 26, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    2. Verme, Paolo, 2008. "Social assistance and poverty reduction in Moldova, 2001-2004 an impact evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4658, The World Bank.
    3. Lucia Mangiavacchi & Paolo Verme, 2009. "Evaluating Pro-poor Transfers When Targeting is Weak: The Albanian Ndihma Ekonomike Program Revisited," Working Papers - Economics wp2009_08.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.


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