Are European social safety nets tight enough? Coverage and adequacy of minimum income schemes in 14 EU countries

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



GINI Discussion Paper Series


Publication date

June 15, 2011


This paper explores and compares the effectiveness of Minimum Income (MI) schemes in protecting persons of working age from poverty in the European Union. Using the European microsimulation model EUROMOD we estimate indicators of coverage and adequacy of MI schemes in 14 EU countries. In terms of coverage, we find that in several countries a significant number of individuals are ineligible for MI even when they fall below a poverty line set at 40 per cent of median income. With respect to adequacy, we show that in certain countries a large fraction of those entitled to MI remain at very low levels of income even when MI benefit is added. Overall, our findings suggest that the clustering of MI schemes in Europe may be more complex than previous literature has hitherto allowed for.



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