Social Security & Taxation

Coordinator : Prof. Dr. Bea Cantillon


In this research domain the focus lies on the actual functioning of social security and tax systems in Belgium and in other countries, on reforms and adjustments to changing socio-economic and demographic contexts and on social adequacy in terms of poverty reduction and reduction of social inequalities. Methodologically this domain makes use of simulation models, the empirical analysis of socio-economic data at the individual and household level and the analysis of policy discourse.


Is there a trade-off between providing adequate income protection and promoting self-sufficiency in social assistance schemes? On the optimal mix of empowerment, conditionality and sanctioning.


Duration: 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2012
Funding: Special research fund, Antwerp University
Promoter: Ive Marx
Researcher: Sarah Marchal

This research project aims to gain insight into the optimal policy mix of conditional measures and enabling policies (directed towards social assistance recipients) in order to promote the transition of social assistance to employment, while at the same time ensuring a decent level of protection. By doing so, it will contribute to answering the question of why some countries succeed in combining high minimum income protection levels with high levels of outflow from social assistance dependency and why Belgium is not among them. In other words, the central aim is to find out the role of conditionality in bringing social assistance recipients to work and enabling the social assistance scheme to provide adequate benefits.


A study on youngsters (18-25) and the right to social integration/minimum income protection


Duration: 12/04/2011 – 30/11/2011
Funding: PPS Social Integration, anti-Poverty Policy, Social Economy and
Federal Urban Policy
Promoters: Bea Cantillon & Daniël Cuypers
Researchers: Sarah Carpentier & Marjolijn Dewilde


This project aims to gain insight into the characteristics of students who receive or apply for minimum income protection. It also critically examines Belgian legislation regarding students and their entitlement to minimum income protection and explores the implementation of current legislation. In the last part of the project a short study is made of students’ outflow from the system of minimum income protection.


Decentralisation and the activation of social assistance beneficiaries


Duration: 01/01/2011 – 31/12/2014
Funding: Flemish Research Foundation (FWO Vlaanderen)
Promoters: Bea Cantillon, Karel Van den Bosch & Karel Neels
Researcher: Sarah Carpentier


This study assesses whether Belgium's decentralised activation policy in social assistance is effective in guiding social assistance beneficiaries towards sustainable employment. Recently, many states have rescaled their social assistance schemes due to activation. This has given rise to a lively international debate on the optimal distribution of competences between government levels. We aim to contribute substantially to, firstly, the mainly economic and political literature on social federalism, and secondly, the social policy literature on the effectiveness of social activation policies.



The evolution of minimum income protection in the EU


Duration: 14/07/2010 – 01/10/2010
Funding: European Commission
Promoter: Natascha Van Mechelen
Researcher: Tim Goedemé


The project analysed the long term evolution of minimum income protection levels in 25 European member states. The project focused primarily on assistance benefits for the working age population, and in second order on minimum wages. In a first part the project compared benefit levels (2009) of several countries. To check the relative living standard of households that live of minimum income benefits and to know to what degree that income is adequate, the net disposable income of these households was compared with that of families with an average wage and to that of families receiving the equivalent median family income. In the project’s second part the focus shifted to the evolution of the level of minimum income protection as of the early 1990s (for EU-15) and as of 2000 (for EU-25).


The state of the art of Belgian Social Security


Duration: 16/01/2009 – 15/01/2010
Funding: FPS Social Security
Promoter: Bea Cantillon
Researcher: Veerle De Maesschalck


This project aimed to develop an overview of the state of the art of Belgian social security in all its facets. The project was developed around four big parts in which principles, goals, financing, etc. of Belgian social security are addressed. Furthermore attention was given to the system’s institutional architecture (structural design, characteristics of the system, etc.); to actual social security policy as well as social phenomena and developments which can have an influence. Additionally, the project considered European context as well as the time dimension. The project focussed on the current situation as well as on important evolutions in the past – keeping the future in mind.




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