Patterns of Welfare State Indicators in the EU: Is There Convergence?

28 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010

See all articles by Koen Caminada

Koen Caminada

Leiden Law School - Department of Economics

Kees Goudswaard

Leiden Law School - Department of Economics

Olaf van Vliet

Leiden University - Leiden Law School; Leiden University - Department of Economics

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Abstract

Convergence of social protection objectives and policies in Member States is an explicit objective of the EU. Earlier research has shown that there has indeed been a tendency of convergence of social protection levels over the last decades. However, comparative studies frequently use indicators which may not be representative as measures of the welfare state. In this article we have done several convergence tests with the most recent data, using a variety of indicators of social protection: social expenditures, both at the macro and at the programme level, replacement rates of unemployment and social assistance benefits and poverty indicators. Together, these indicators provide a broader picture of the evolution of social protection. Our results are less clear cut than earlier findings. We still find convergence of social expenditure in EU countries over a longer period. However, this trend seems to have stagnated in recent years. The evidence is mixed for the other indicators. Replacement rates of unemployment benefits converged to a higher level, but social assistance benefits did not. Poverty rates and poverty gaps have converged since the mid-1980s, but the levels of both indicators have developed in the opposite direction.

Suggested Citation

Caminada, Koen and Goudswaard, Kees and van Vliet, Olaf, Patterns of Welfare State Indicators in the EU: Is There Convergence?. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 48, Issue 3, pp. 529-556, June 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1600972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5965.2010.02063.x

Koen Caminada (Contact Author)

Leiden Law School - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.law.leiden.edu/organisation/taxlawandeconomics/economics/staff/caminada.html

Kees Goudswaard

Leiden Law School - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA
Netherlands

Olaf Van Vliet

Leiden University - Leiden Law School ( email )

Steenschuur 25 PO Box 9520
Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.leiden.edu/organisation/taxlawandeconomics/economics/staff/vliet.html

Leiden University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.leiden.edu/organisation/taxlawandeconomics/economics/staff/vliet.html

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