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The end of cheap talk about poverty reduction: the cost of closing the poverty gap while maintaining work incentives

Diego Collado, Bea Cantillon, Karel Van den Bosch, Tim Goedemé () and Dieter Vandelannoote

No 16/08, ImPRovE Working Papers from Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp

Abstract: How can poverty reduction be improved and at what cost? Available evidence suggests that social investment strategies and employment policies are important but not sufficient. In order to reduce the number of people below the relative at-risk-of-poverty threshold of the EU, countries must develop not only effective employment policies but also ensure adequate social protection. This implies increasing social transfers for working and non-working households, while protecting work incentives. In this paper we show that this is not a cheap option. We calculate the hypothetical cost of closing the poverty gap while maintaining the existing average labour market participation incentives at the bottom of the income distribution in three of the most developed welfares states of the EU, namely Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Results show that this would require around two times the budget needed to just lift all disposable household incomes to the poverty threshold. The cost would obviously be lower in countries with smaller poverty gaps and with weaker participation incentives. The results suggest that anti-poverty strategies also have to look at the drivers of rising income inequalities, at the most appropriate magnitude of work incentives and at downward pressures on low wages.

Keywords: poverty gap; tax-benefit system; minimum income; in-work benefit; work incentives; redistribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H23 H24 H53 I32 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-pbe
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

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Related works:
Working Paper: The end of cheap talk about poverty reduction: the cost of closing the poverty gap while maintaining work incentives (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The End of Cheap Talk About Poverty Reduction: The Cost of Closing the Poverty Gap While Maintaining Work Incentives (2017) Downloads
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