Despite being a very hot subject in the public debate, the causes behind the increase in social assistance (SA) in the 1990s are relatively unknown. In this paper, I try to investigate if the increase is in part a result of an increase in the propensity to receive SA. Despite what is usually argued in the public debate, I find no evidence of a general increase in the mentioned propensity in Sweden during the period 1990 to 1995. But although there is no evidence of an increased propensity to receive SA, some behavioural changes seem to have occurred. First, I find evidence that the recipients may be subjected to tougher judgement criteria in 1995 than in the 1990, something that could mask a possible increase in the studied propensity in the empirical analysis. Second, the propensity to become a SA recipient has increased among people with university education. Thirdly the propensity to receive SA among young people seems to be lower in 1995 than in 1990 but this may be due to a tougher attitude shown by the authorities that is particularly affecting this group.
Social assistance propensity social assistance stigma