Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University
Minimum Income Protection and Low-Income Standards: Is Social Assistance Enough for Poverty Alleviation?
Abstract: Minimum income protection and social assistance is the
last-resort safety net of the welfare state, targeted to the most
vulnerable groups in society. Poverty alleviation is thus one chief
objective of such benefits. Whether this objective is fulfilled is
continuously discussed and debated. This paper provide new evidence on this
issue and offers an analysis of social assistance benefit levels in 16
industrialized welfare democracies over the period 1990-2000. It is shown
that the period 1990-1995 was characterized primarily by stagnated benefit
levels, while in the latter half of the 1990s benefits declined. In most
countries, social assistance fails to provide income above the poverty
threshold, something that makes it difficult to view these benefits as
effective redistributive instruments.
Keywords: -; (follow links to similar papers)
37 pages, December 14, 2009
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