ISER Working Paper Series 2013-18
Outcomes of social assistance in Central and Eastern Europe: a pre-transfer post-transfer comparison
09 Oct 2013
The poverty reduction potential of national social assistance programs in eight Central and Eastern European countries is examined using data from the EU-SILC. Results indicate that social assistance programs are a marginal component of the social protection system throughout the region. They serve small populations, spend relatively little compared to needs and the benefits they award are largely a top-up for their clients. However, the more extensive and liberal programs achieve higher effectiveness in reducing poverty. Unlike Western Europe, no trade-off between extensiveness and benefit generosity or between generosity and efficiency could be found. Decentralization and discretion are associated with inefficiency and arbitrariness in entitlement decisions rather than improved targeting.