In this paper social assistance developments are analyzed in a large number of EU member states, including European transition countries and the new democracies of southern Europe. The empirical analysis is based on the unique and recently established SaMip Dataset, which provides social assistance benefit levels for 27 countries from 1990-2005. It is shown that social assistance benefits have had a less favorable development than that of unemployment provision. Hardly any of the investigated countries provide social assistance benefits above the EU near poverty threshold. Social assistance benefit levels have not converged in Europe. Instead, divergence can be observed, which is mainly due to lagging developments in eastern and southern Europe.
Comparative Institutional Contextual Poverty Low income