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Accounting for gender differences in the distributional effects of tax and benefit policy changes - Research note 3/2015 by Silvia Avram, Daria Popova and Olga Rastrigina (2015)
The distributional impact of policy changes is usually considered in terms of equivalised household income, assuming that each individual within the household is being affected in the same way, as a result of complete income pooling. The aim of this paper is to extend this approach by introducing a gender perspective in the analysis of policy effects. We use EUROMOD, the tax-benefit microsimulation model for the EU, to estimate the effects of changes in tax-benefit policies over the period 2008-2014 separately for men and women. The paper consists of two parts. First, we apply the standard approach based on the equal income sharing assumption but focus on lone parent families – a specific household type which makes gendered policy effects easier to observe. This analysis is performed for 18 EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Finland and Sweden. Second, we estimate the policy effects for men and women in couples. To obtain gender specific effects, we redefine income at the individual level by allocating income components to each adult within the household according to a set of assumptions. We present three alternative scenarios of intra-household income sharing. All scenarios assume that all individual incomes (e.g. earnings, individual benefits) are retained by their recipients, while common incomes (e.g. family benefits, housing allowances) are distributed following three different sets of sharing rules, which are defined in relation to the primary and the secondary earner status. We compare the outcomes of men and women in these three scenarios and in the baseline which assumes equal income sharing. This analysis is performed for six countries which differ in terms of the degree of defamilialisation their welfare regimes provide: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Romania and Finland.

The effect of changes in tax-benefit policies on the income distribution in 2008-2015 - Research note 2/2015 by De Agostini, Paulus and Tasseva (2015)
We apply microsimulation techniques to estimate the first-order effects of tax-benefit policy changes since the beggining of the financial and economic crisis in 2008. Using the EU tax-benefit model EUROMOD in combination with the EU-SILC 2012 micro-data, we provide comparative estimates for EU-27 in 2008-2014 as well as for 21 EU member states in 2014-2015. The analysis covers direct tax and cash benefit changes and evaluates their effects on the income distribution, poverty and inequality levels, holding population characteristics and market incomes constant, thereby, isolating direct policy effects from other factors shaping the income distribution. Two different indexation approaches are used to adjust benchmark policies over time – prices and market incomes – and explore the sensitivity of results. We find substantial cross-national variation throughout the whole period. At the EU level, policy changes in the first half of the period (2008-2011) were poverty-reducing and had a positive effect on mean incomes, while the effects were the opposite in the later period (2011-2014); and inequality-reducing in both periods.

Nowcasting: estimating developments in median household income and risk of poverty in 2014 and 2015 - RN 1/2015 by Olga Rastrigina, Chrysa Leventi, Sanja Vujackov and Holly Sutherland (2015)
The at-risk-of-poverty rate (AROP) is one of the three indicators used for monitoring progress towards the Europe 2020 poverty and social exclusion reduction target. Timeliness of this indicator is crucial for monitoring of the social situation and of the effectiveness of tax and benefit policies. However, partly due to the complexity of EU-SILC data collection, estimates of the number of people at risk of poverty are published with a significant delay. This paper extends and updates previous work on estimating (‘nowcasting’) indicators of poverty risk using the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD. The model’s routines are enhanced with additional adjustments to the EU-SILC based input data in order to capture changes in the employment characteristics of the population since the data were collected. The nowcasting method is applied to twenty-five EU Member States. AROP rates are estimated up to 2015 for twenty countries and 2014 for the remaining five countries. The performance of the method is assessed by comparing the predictions with actual EU-SILC indicators for the years for which the latter are available.

The redistributive and stabilising effects of an EMU unemployment benefit scheme under different hypothetical unemployment scenarios - Research note 3/2014 by H. Xavier Jara, Holly Sutherland and Alberto Tumino (2015)
The idea of a common unemployment benefit system for the European Monetary Union (EMU) has provoked increasing interest in both the political and academic spheres because of its potential to smooth fluctuations in income across member states and to strengthen income security for the unemployed. In this paper, we simulate two hypothetical negative employment shocks and make use of the microsimulation model EUROMOD to explore the implications for income protection of the introduction of an EMU unemployment insurance (EMU-UI) scheme, for a selected number of countries of the Monetary Union. Our results show that the EMU-UI has the potential to reduce the risk of poverty for those affected by the negative employment shock and to have an additional positive effect on within-country income stabilisation, although the effects of the EMU-UI vary considerably in size across the countries analysed.

Representativeness study Construction 2015 (2015)
study construction

Indebtedness of households and the cost of debt by household type and income group - Research note 10/2014 by Eva Sierminska (2014)
The research note examines the indebtedness of households in the EU. It focuses on several aspects of household indebtedness and considers the structure of debt, including bank loans and other types of credit from banks and individuals. It compares differences among household types, particularly for the young and the middle-income groups. It examines the costs of servicing debt and how far this imposes a burden on households with differing levels of income. It identifies those that have been experiencing financial distress, which have been increasing in number, and considers their coping mechanisms.. The analysis is based on the new Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), which provides harmonised information for 15 eurozone member countries on household balance sheets and related economic and demographic variables, including income, private pensions, employment, measures of consumption, gifts and inheritances and other behavioral variables. The sample consists of over 62 000 households and the first wave was carried out between the end of 2008 and the middle 2011.

Analysing equity in the use of long-term care in Europe - Research note 9/2014 by Ricardo Rodrigues, Stefania Ilinca, Andrea Schmidt (2014)
There are significant differences across social protection systems in Europe in the scope, breadth and depth of coverage of the risk to need long-term care in old-age. Together with other factors, such as education, household structure or societal values regarding care for frail older people, these differences can have a significant impact on the use of long-term care. Using SHARE data, this Research Note compares differences between European countries in the use of long-term care across income groups, for older people living at home. It analyses not only inequalities in the use of long-term care, but also differences in use that persist after differences in need have been taken into consideration, i.e. horizontal inequality. For this purpose, concentration indices, concentration curves and horizontal inequality indices are estimated for home care services and informal care. The countries analysed here are Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Denmark, Greece, Belgium and Czech Republic. The findings suggest that differences in use of home care services across income groups mostly reflect differences in need between those same groups. For informal care, the differences in use persist even after accounting for needs, and less affluent individuals are much more likely to use informal care. Some possible causes for these differences and policy implications are considered.

Inequality in the use of childcare - Research note 8/2014 by Márton Medgyesi and Niki Kalaverzou (2014)
Improving the availability and affordability of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services is high up on the EU policy agenda as affordable childcare supports parents’ access to the labour market, addresses child poverty and contributes to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty. In this research note, the objective is to propose a synthetic and functional way of measuring the social gradient of childcare use, which allows regular monitoring. Two issues in the measurement of the social gradient are investigated: the choice of an indicator of socioeconomic status and the choice of summary measure of the social gradient. In this analysis socioeconomic status is measured by equivalised disposable income, parental education and also by using a composite indicator of socioeconomic status. Problems of using simple frequency ratios as a measure of the social gradient are reviewed and other measures that have been proposed in the literature on health inequality are presented, such as measures of association and measures based on rankings of the socioeconomic variable (concentration index, relative index of inequality). In the second part of the research note the social gradient in formal childcare use is calculated with different methods and results are presented and compared.

The legacy of the recession: values and societal issues - Research note 7/2014 by Zoltán Fábián, Manos Matsaganis, Michail Veliziotis and István G. Tóth  (2014)
This Research Note investigates how people's behaviour and perceptions in the Member States may have changed during the Great Recession and whether there are trends over time in the social climate, attitudes towards immigrants, trust in institutions and in others, demand for redistribution that can be identified. The questions examined include how far the socio-economic determinants of attitudes vary between countries; whether changes in macroeconomic conditions (the economic crisis) have a direct effect on attitudes; whether an increased demand for redistribution is evident as countries experience different phases of the crisis; how far there is a correlation between economic hardship and attitudes. These questions are assessed on the basis of both the European Social Survey (ESS) and various waves of the Eurobarometer survey. The most recent ESS data are from 2012, while the most recent EB data come from June 2014 (EB 81.5). The analysis shows that trust in European institutions has declined while generalized trust did not massively change in the various EU Member states. Attitudes towards immigrants became less favourable on average between 2008 and 2010, bouncing back in the following years, while life satisfaction was lower in 2012 only in the most severely crisis-stricken countries. Macro-economic factors, such as the evolution of the unemployment rate across the EU countries, appear to be closely related to the above changes. Perceptions of widespread poverty selectively increased in the various countries, however, causal attribution of poverty shifted towards societal (as opposed to personal) attributes. Demand for redistribution did not increase in general. Rather, expectations towards non-state solutions of provisions of jobs, of education etc. have been increased. The country variance in welfare attitudes is large.

Scarring effects of the crisis - Research note 6/2014 by Nicole Fondeville and Terry Ward (2014)
This research note presents a review of the literature analysing the damaging effects of the crisis on individuals, in particular, on their working careers and future life chances, and ultimately on the future growth prospects of the EU economy. It shows that the economic crisis has potentially scarring effects in these terms on young people especially. Even if many of them are likely to be able to catch-up and avoid their experience having long-term detrimental effects, it will, nevertheless, tend to increase the risk of social exclusion and health problems for some of them and oblige them to adopt coping strategies in the face of limited employment opportunities. There is very little literature on the damaging effects of the crisis on economic growth simply because of the difficulties of analysing the links between current events and developments over the next 10-20 years when any adverse consequences for labour productivity are likely to be felt. Given that it is very difficult to identify the relative importance of the various factors underlying productivity growth in the long-term, it is only to be expected that distinguishing the effect of an event like the present crisis would prove problematic. The crisis, however, can potentially have positive effects as well, in the form in particular of encouraging a deeper consideration of strategies for both minimising the damage to individuals, especially the young, and stimulating economic growth so that it is sustained over the long-term. Investment in education is at the root of such strategies and the note ends with a review of what has happened to expenditure on education across the EU over the crisis period.