NTA2020 Gal

Global Meeting on Population and the Generational Economy, August 2020

Presentation: Robert Gal, Marton Medgyesi, Pieter Vanhuysse, What do welfare states really do?


In line with previous research, we confirm that welfare programs are poorly targeted in terms of socio-economic status (SES). However, by adding age to our models, we demonstrate that even if SES is irrelevant in explaining access to social benefits and services, age is not. We compare both causal importance and dispersion importance (Shapley-value decomposition) of age and SES in explaining the receipt of, and contribution to both in-kind and in-cash benefits at the level of the general government in 22 member states of the European Union. We conclude, that what appears to be a dysfunctional instrument in alleviating poverty and inequalities in a univariate model proves to be a channel of resource reallocation connecting working age people to children and the elderly when the model includes two predictors. This calls for the revision of both targeting analysis (targeting should also be measured by age not only by income) and the way the welfare system is singled out as the sole actor held responsible for mitigating poverty and inequalities (although other forms of government activity have redistributive effects too in terms of income).

File: NTA2020 Gal

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