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The impact of child benefits on single mother poverty: Exploring the role of targeting in 15 European countries

TitleThe impact of child benefits on single mother poverty: Exploring the role of targeting in 15 European countries
Publication TypeInternational peer-reviewed journal article
AuthorsVan Lancker, W., Ghysels J., & Cantillon B.
Year of Publication2015
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Volume24
Pagination210-222
Abstract

Single mothers are vulnerable to living in poverty. The question of how to safeguard the economic status of single mothers in a context of increasing dual earnership is a crucial one. In the present study we addressed this issue by investigating the impact of child benefits on the poverty risk of single mothers in 15 European countries. We focused in particular on the design of child benefits and investigated whether targeting towards single mothers was associated with better poverty reduction. In doing so, we combined information on statutory child benefit entitlement with an empirical analysis of poverty reduction using survey data. We found that: (i) both spending effort and targeting are important to explain the effectiveness of child benefits in reducing single mother poverty; (ii) targeting is related to higher levels of poverty reduction independent of spending effort; yet (iii) it matters how targeting is done.

Keywordschild benefits, poverty, single mothers, targeting, universalism, welfare state
Issue3
Citation Key4568
DOI10.1111/ijsw.12140
Universiteit Antwerpen - University of Antwerp
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