Marek Mora (Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs)
(Country Focus. 10. September 2006.
Brussels. 6pp. Tab. Free.)
ISSN: (internet) 1725-8375
When using indicators of inequality of income distribution and the at-risk-of-poverty rate, the Czech Republic has one of the highest levels of social cohesion in the EU, comparable to that of the Nordic countries. Though social transfers play a significant role in reducing the Czech poverty rate, it is the country's relatively equal distribution of primary income that contributes most to the level of social cohesion overall. This can be explained by several factors, in particular by the quality of education, the homogeneity of society, regulation of rental housing, the gradual nature of the transition process and other historical reasons. Economic theory and empirical evidence are not clear-cut on what the impact of social cohesion is on economic efficiency and growth. Though social cohesion can have a positive economic impact on growth, the tax-transfer system, if badly designed, may have harmful consequences for labour supply and for the sustainability of public finances as seems to be the Czech case.
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