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Family Friendly Welfare at the National and Local Level: What Does the State Do for the Family and the Family For the State?

Paola De Agostini (), Martina Menon () and Federico Perali ()

No 23/2015, Working Papers from University of Verona, Department of Economics

Abstract: The rising unemployment and poverty following the Great Recession have highlighted the importance of families as primary caregivers and actors of social protection as well as shown weaknesses and limitation of the existing welfare network in place across Europe. There is therefore a revitalized interest on evaluating how well national and local welfare systems support families, how they can be improved by revisiting what the State does for the family and what families do for the State and how these exchanges vary across Europe. In Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece the size of welfare transfers to families is negligible as compared to the other European countries characterized by either a Binsmarck or Beveridge style welfare systems because of a relatively weaker bargaining position of Mediterranean families in the social contract with the State. We discuss the relevance for the European policy to move toward a more harmonized social security system by devoting the first part of our study to the State transfers to families at the national and local level. The second part examines what families do for the State by describing how to value family time and household production activities placing special emphasis on the cost of raising children. The measurement difficulties explain why societies and governments know so little about family contributions. We show that these questions are of crucial importance to frame a harmonized proposal for a novel design of European welfare systems oriented to solve specific social problems while respecting budgetary constraints and fiscal consolidation policies.

Keywords: Welfare reform; means testing; family support; valuing time; participation income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 I3 J18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur
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