Less is More? 20 years of changing minimum income protection for old Europe’s elderly

TitleLess is More? 20 years of changing minimum income protection for old Europe’s elderly
Publication TypeWorking Paper
AuthorsGoedemé, T.
PublisherHerman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp
Place PublishedAntwerp
Year of Publication2012
NumberWP 12/07
Date Published08/2012

Over the past two decades, pension reforms have been at the top of the agenda of social policy makers in Europe. In many countries, these reforms have resulted in less generous public pensions. At the same time, minimum income protection for the elderly has received attention from policy makers, but much less so from social policy researchers. Therefore, in this paper, I explore how benefit levels of non-contributory minimum income schemes for the elderly have evolved between 1990 and 2009 in 13 ‘old’ EU member states. Building on two new cross-national and cross-temporary comparable datasets on minimum income protection in Europe, it is shown that over the past 20 years the erosion of the principal safety net of last resort for elderly persons has been limited. Moreover, in a substantial number of European countries a deliberate policy of large increases in minimum income benefits has been pursued, leading to a remarkable convergence of relative benefit levels.

Keywordsbasic pension, benefit level, conditional basic pension, convergence, elderly, European Union, minimum benefit, minimum income protection, minimum pension, social assistance, social pension
Citation Key3516
Universiteit Antwerpen - University of Antwerp
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