How relative is the social minimum? Estimating a lower bound on the relativity of the minimum resources required for adequate social participationISER External Seminars

Many scholars recognise that the minimum financial resources required for achieving a certain living standard vary cross-nationally. However, there is much less agreement about the extent of this variation. In this seminar, I propose to make use of reference budgets in order to estimate a lower bound on the cross-country variation in the minimum resources required for adequate social participation. Reference budgets are priced list of goods and services that represent a certain living standard for a given target population. In the project ImPRovE, five country teams have collaborated to construct for the first time comparable reference budgets in Belgium, Finland, Greece, Hungary, and Spain. We start from a single theoretical and methodological framework and track carefully differences in institutional settings, climate, culture, availability and prices of goods and services that could justify cross-country variations in contents and levels of reference budgets. Results indicate that adequate social participation requires access to different goods and services in the five countries, but that at the same time the needs to be fulfilled are rather similar, such that the variation in the level of reference budgets is less than what would be expected on the basis of differences in median disposable household incomes. Results also show that constructing comparable reference budgets requires substantial cross-country coordination. The seminar ends with a reflection on other approaches that would be suitable for estimating an upper bound on the relativity of the social minimum.

Presented by:

Tim Goedemé (University of Antwerp)

Date & time:

October 6, 2014 2:00 pm - October 6, 2014 3:30 pm

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