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Title:How tight are safety-nets in Nordic Countries? Evidence from Finnish register data PDF Logo
Authors:Bargain, Olivier
Immervoll, Herwig
Viitamäki, Heikki
Issue Date:2007
Series/Report no.:Working paper series // UCD Centre for Economic Research 2007/12
Abstract:The non take-up of social assistance benefits due to claim costs may seriously limit the anti-poverty effect of these programs. Yet, available evidence is fragmented and mostly relies on interview-based data, potentially biased by misreporting and measurement errors on both benefit entitlement and income levels used to assess eligibility. In this paper, we use Finnish administrative data to compare eligibility and actual receipt of social assistance by working-age families during the post-recession period (1996-2003). Possible errors due to time-period issues and discretionary measures by local agencies are carefully investigated. Non take-up is found to be substantial - between 40% and 50% - and increasing during the period. Using repeated cross-section estimations, we identify a set of stable determinants of claiming behavior and suggest that the increasing trend is mainly due to a composition effect, i.e. a decline in the proportion of groups with higher claiming propensity. We finally discuss the targeting efficiency of the social assistance scheme.
Subjects:take-up
social assistance
povety
register data
JEL:D31
H31
H53
I38
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Working Paper Series, UCD School of Economics, University College Dublin (UCD)

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