Are Recipients of Social Assistance 'Benefit Dependent'? Concepts, Measurement and Results for Selected Countries

84 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015

See all articles by Herwig Immervoll

Herwig Immervoll

World Bank, Europe and Central Asia; Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; ISER Institute for Social and Economic Research; University of Canberra - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM); United Nations - European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

Stephen P. Jenkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Sebastian Königs

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Means-tested Social Assistance (SA) benefits play an important role as social protection floors supporting households in financial difficulties. This paper presents evidence on the patterns of SA benefit receipt in a selection of OECD and EU countries. It provides an overview of the role of SA benefits in social protection systems and assesses the generosity of benefit payments. It then studies the dynamics of SA benefit receipt based on micro-level data describing trends in aggregate receipt and transition rates and presenting new evidence on spell durations and repeat spells. The final part of the paper summarizes recent empirical evidence on state dependence (or 'scarring effects') in benefit receipt and discusses its possible sources and policy implications.

Keywords: social assistance, welfare benefits, state dependence, benefit dependence, scarring

JEL Classification: I38, J60, J64, C23

Suggested Citation

Immervoll, Herwig and Jenkins, Stephen P. and Königs, Sebastian, Are Recipients of Social Assistance 'Benefit Dependent'? Concepts, Measurement and Results for Selected Countries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8786, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2558365

Herwig Immervoll (Contact Author)

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Stephen P. Jenkins

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Sebastian Königs

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division ( email )

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France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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