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Counting the PoorNew Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States$
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Douglas J. Besharov and Kenneth A. Couch

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860586

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860586.001.0001

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Minimum-Income Benefits in OECD Countries

Minimum-Income Benefits in OECD Countries

Chapter:
(p.171) 9 Minimum-Income Benefits in OECD Countries
Source:
Counting the Poor
Author(s):

Herwig Immervoll

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860586.003.0009

This chapter provides a broad overview of contemporary minimum-income transfers in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. It starts out by proposing a simple typology for situating different types of minimum-income benefits as elements of the overall redistribution system. The third section summarizes the generosity of benefit payments and the structure of health care-related support measures that complement them. The fourth section describes the limited available comparative data on the number of benefit claimants and considers to what extent they matter when assessing the relevance of social assistance measures as safety nets. The fifth section provides a condensed overview of the “mutual obligations” debate, discussing, in turn, the rationale of back-to-work and other activation measures and the main results from the evaluation literature. The last section concludes by highlighting some challenges for minimum-income programs posed by the recent economic downturn.

Keywords:   OECD, minimum-income transfers, redistribution system, benefit payments, mutual obligations, social assistance measures, benefit payments

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