The comparability of the EU-SILC income variables: review and recommendations — 2020 edition - Products Statistical working papers

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null The comparability of the EU-SILC income variables: review and recommendations — 2020 edition

EU-SILC is the most important microdata source for studying income and living conditions across the European Union. In this paper, we study variations between countries with respect to how individual income components are aggregated into the EU-SILC target variables. In particular, we look at compliance with Eurostat guidelines, misclassifications and omitted income sources, all potentially undermining cross-national comparability. On the basis of a survey among national statistical institutes, we compiled a database which maps the exact classification of income components onto the EU-SILC target variables. The focus of the database is on EU-SILC 2015, covering 26 EU-SILC countries. The database contains information on the composition of variables on total income before and after transfers; income from benefits, work and capital; social contributions and taxes. As a result of this exercise, we outline some general conclusions with regard to (1) cross-national deviations with regard to the calculation of the EU-SILC total income variables; (2) the classification of national income components (e.g. particular benefits) that can be considered “borderline cases” which are currently classified inconsistently across countries; (3) possibilities for improving the definition of target variables; (4) the (unjustified) omission of some income components from EU-SILC target variables; (5) recommendations that may be helpful to improve the comparability of EU-SILC in the future.

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Release date: 23/01/2020

Additional information

Product Code: KS-TC-20-001
ISBN: 978-92-76-15064-0
ISSN: 2315-0807
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.2785/047001
Theme: Population and social conditions
Collection: Statistical working papers