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The distribution of wealth between households - Research note 11/2013 by Eva Sierminska with Márton Medgyesi (2013)
This research note examines wealth-holding information collected by the new Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) managed by the European Central Bank (ECB), the first results of which were published in April 2013. First, it compares the extent of inequality in holdings of wealth against the extent of inequality of income, and discusses how this varies across countries. Next, wealth inequality is decomposed into different components, in order to try to identify the main factors underlying the results. In the next part of the research note, the division between liquid and illiquid wealth is examined and compared across household types. This is of considerable importance in respect of the ability to maintain consumption in the event of a drop in income. It is, therefore, a significant factor that should be taken into account when assessing the effects of the crisis on living standards. In the following section, the timing of the data collection is considered and possible impacts are discussed. Since the survey was carried out at different times in different countries, the substantial variations that have occurred in recent years in both house-price and stock-market indices are likely to have had a major effect on the measurement of wealth and its distribution between households within countries, as well as between countries. This needs to be taken explicitly into account in any analysis. In the final section, income as recorded by the ECB survey is compared with that recorded by EU-SILC. This is done by first reviewing the differences in the collection methodology and then by comparing the distribution of gross household income and its components.

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Access of mobile EU citizens to social protection - Research note 10/2013 by Márton Medgyesi and Péter Pölöskei (2013)
This paper investigates how receipt of welfare benefits differs between natives and mobile EU citizens in EU countries, on the basis of data from EU-SILC 2011. The analysis focuses on differences in receipt of non-contributory benefits (such as family benefits, housing benefits, poverty relief, etc.), although differences in the receipt of unemployment benefit are also considered. A rough comparison shows welfare use to differ between natives and migrants in several cases. To sort out pure composition effects, multivariate statistical analysis (probit regressions) of benefit receipt (education, unemployment, disability, housing, family-related transfers and transfers to combat social exclusion) was carried out for 18 countries with specifications that controlled for age, gender, education, household type and labour-market status. The analysis shows that, for most benefits (unemployment, education, social exclusion), the differences between natives and mobile EU citizens are small and statistically insignificant in most of the countries. Higher benefit receipt among mobile EU citizens was found only in the case of housing benefit in a few countries. On the other hand, it seems that in most of the EU, being a mobile EU citizen is associated with a lower probability of receiving family and child-related benefits. The results contribute to a more balanced interpretation of the “welfare magnet” hypothesis, according to which generous welfare systems are important factors that substantially affect the numbers and composition of migrants.

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