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This study quantifies how spending changes induced by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) affects production and employment in rural and urban areas. A general equilibrium simulation model with an estimated demand system is first used to project how SNAP affects spending on different goods and services. These impacts are then linked to the expansion and contraction of different economic sectors that differ in importance across rural and urban Oregon. In urban areas, a number of service sectors linked to higher-income households shrink slightly in response to SNAP, while food-related sectors expand; the net effect on jobs is slightly negative. Production changes in rural areas are generally smaller, while having a slightly positive net effect on jobs. Overall, SNAP makes a positive difference for low- or no-income households without strong effects elsewhere in the economy.
We developed an expensiveness index and used the Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey data set to examine empirically whether Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants pay higher prices compared with nonqualifying and qualifying, but nonparticipating, households. Purchasers’ ability to minimize food expenditures has significant effects on the program’s effectiveness and on participants’ food security. Using ordinary least squares and two techniques that control for the endogeneity of SNAP participation, we found no significant effect of SNAP participation on food prices. Moreover, we found that SNAP participants pay, on average, lower prices than do nonparticipants. We conclude by providing suggestions for policy improvements and implications for future research.
This study contributes to the international literature on welfare dynamics, by providing a differentiated picture of paths through the means-tested Basic Income for recipients who are capable of working, after the reorganisation of the basic income system in Germany in 2005. We analyse the employment and benefit trajectories of individuals who became recipients for the first time between 2007 and 2009 by methods of sequence and cluster analysis based on representative administrative individual data. We find a significant polarisation between long-term recipients and those with an early exit from benefit receipt via full-time employment. One in three new recipients remains in benefit receipt for the next years and shows almost no employment activities. Approximately 23 percent leave benefit receipt quickly and work in full-time employment. Several other different paths exist between these two poles. These heterogeneous trajectories should be characteristic for broad basic income systems and require a variety of policies that in part are beyond labour market policies.
Because their assets and income represent such a small share of national wealth, the impacts of climate change on poor people, even if dramatic, will be largely invisible in aggregate economic statistics such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Assessing and managing future impacts of climate change on poverty requires different metrics, and specific studies focusing on the vulnerability of poor people. This special issue provides a set of such studies, looking at the exposure and vulnerability of people living in poverty to shocks and stressors that are expected to increase in frequency or intensity due to climate change, such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and impacts on agricultural production and ecosystem services. This introduction summarizes their approach and findings, which support the idea that the link between poverty and climate vulnerability goes both ways: poverty is one major driver of people's vulnerability to climate-related shocks and stressors, and this vulnerability is keeping people in poverty. The paper concludes by identifying priorities for future research.
We estimate the impact of increasing the female early retirement age (ERA) on household living standards. Examining the increase in the female ERA from 60 to 63 in the UK, we find increased earnings only partially offset lost public pension income, leaving affected women's household incomes £32 per week lower on average. The proportional effect was substantially larger for women in lower income households. This increased the income poverty rate among affected women by 6.4 percentage points. We find no evidence of an increased inability to afford important material items, potentially suggesting that material deprivation has been avoided through smoothing of consumption.
In this paper we explain some of the difficulties of providing forecasts of the financial benefits of early intervention programmes, focussing on those delivered during the early childhood period. We highlight the diversity of early intervention, and the complexity and multiplicity of outcomes. We summarise recent work at the Early Intervention Foundation to assess the evidence on the impacts of early intervention, recognising the diversity of approaches to delivery and the importance of innovation and local practice as well as of rigorous approaches to evaluating causal effects. We also describe new ways of assessing accurately the local fiscal costs of late intervention and consider the implications of this for addressing the well-established barriers to investment in prevention. Our analysis brings to the fore gaps in the evidence from which even the most rigorous ‘gold-standard’ research is not immune. These limitations prevent the production of an accurate and realistic cost-benefit ratio or net present value for the majority of programmes as delivered in practice. We suggest some paths towards a firmer foundation of evidence and a better alignment of evidence and policy.
Some public sectors provide cash-balance pension plans with guaranteed interest credits. We use the certainty-equivalence framework to derive the subjective value of the guarantee perceived by the participant. Numerical results show that in many scenarios the subjective value is lower than the cost of the guarantee derived by option pricing approaches, implying that public sectors potentially spend too much in providing the guarantee. However, the subjective value could be higher than the cost of the guarantee under some scenarios, depending on the participant's level of risk aversion, the feasibility of diversification, and so forth.
The paper shows the impact of changes in multi-pillar pension systems in six Central and Eastern European countries for individual pension wealth. It demonstrates that the post-crisis changes in pension system reduced pension wealth of workers in Poland and increased in Lithuania and Slovakia. The change did not have significant impact on pension wealth in Estonia and Romania. The magnitude of this effect is highest in those countries where the reduction of the fully-funded pension contribution was permanent. Loss or gain in pension wealth varies with age of participants – it is higher for younger people, who will accumulate their pension wealth to a larger extent after the change. The level of the change in pension wealth depends also on the wage level – higher earners lose more relative to the average wage level. The difference in pension wealth depends also on the difference between rates of return in fully funded and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) components of the pension system. The net outcome of post-crisis pension system modifications depends both on the magnitude of fully-funded contribution reduction, but also on the design of PAYG component and the way individual pension rights are accrued. These results indicate the rise in implicit liability of pension system in Slovakia to be higher than the reduction of the explicit liability caused by the pension system change and the lower rise of implicit liability in Poland and Latvia.
For many people the key question in the referendum is whether a vote to leave will enable the UK to take back control of its borders. So for them the focus is primarily on Article 45 on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which allows free movement of workers. But for individuals much movement to other EU Member States is covered by Article 56 TFEU on the free movement of services. This article will argue that empirical research shows that there is in fact an interesting link between temporary migration under Article 56 TFEU and ultimately permanent migration under Article 45 TFEU. Brexit has the potential profoundly to affect both.
Fourteen percent of households in the United States faced some level of food insecurity in 2014. This study provides a review of the state of knowledge on food insecurity in the United States and the programs designed to combat the problem. A household decision-making model is used to frame the discussion. The study also provides suggestions for future research.
The Coalition's record on working age social security is reviewed under the headings of continuity (with the policies of the previous government), retrenchment and reform. Under continuity, the Coalition's decision to proceed with the previous government's planned reassessment of incapacity benefit claims was a notable policy mistake which led to the near-collapse of the assessment system by 2014. Retrenchment measures are dominated by benefit uprating changes which, along with measures targeting higher-income groups, have been less regressive than alternative approaches to expenditure reduction. However these changes were accompanied by a number of smaller-scale retrenchment measures, with substantial cumulative impacts on income. Retrenchment has thus been less regressive than it might have been but more regressive than it needed to be, taking the retrenchment targets as given. Policy failure and exogenous economic factors have offset the effect of retrenchment measures, with the result that expenditure by 2014/15 was little different to that planned in the Labour government's last budget. Full implementation of major reforms has been deferred to the next parliament. The main achieved policy change has been an unprecedented tightening of the benefit sanctions regime.
This article analyses the success of the Bordeaux Mont-de-Piété between 1801 and 1913. This success was related to several factors. While the legislative environment was already advantageous (monopoly status for pawnbroking), the establishment prospered courtesy of the social and economic environment. There was indeed high social demand for financial aid linked to the individual needs of a population that found itself in a situation of virtual exclusion. The establishment also benefited from high repayment rates, which limited additional costs, regularly found ways to refinance its operations and took advantage of there being no people's banking system.
This paper analyzes the effect of private supplementary pensions (and the tax reliefs that aim to stimulate such plans) on national saving in Spain. It tries to test the alleged positive effects of private pension plans on savings. Using a longitudinal dataset and fixed-effects methods, we find that tax-favored contributions to a pension fund are not associated with a lower consumption level, which implies that this policy does not increase national saving. The empirical results on the impact of contributions on private household wealth are less clear.
Continental pawnbroking institutions, Monts-de-Piété, were introduced in Ireland in the 1830s and 1840s but did not establish a permanent status. Irish social reformers believed that a Mont-de-Piété system would reduce the cost of borrowing for the poor and also fund a social welfare network, thus negating the need for an Irish Poor Law. This article explores the introduction of the Mont-de-Piété charitable pawnbroker in Ireland and outlines some reasons for its failure. It uses the market incumbents, private pawnbrokers, as a base group in a comparative study and asks why the Monts-de-Piété were the unsuccessful ones of the two. The article finds that the public nature and monopoly status of Monts-de-Piété on the Continent realised economies of scale and gave preferential interest rates on capital, as well as enabling the Mont-de-Piété loan book to be cross-subsidised. These conditions were not replicated in Ireland, hence the failure of the Monts-de-Piété there.
Since 2002, the German government has been attempting to increase private old-age provisions by introducing incentives such as supplementary subsidies and tax credits. Since then, the so-called ‘Riester pension’ has grown in popularity. Apart from subsidized pension plans, unsubsidized private pension insurances have – already in the past – been a very important instrument among old-age provision schemes. With data of the German SAVE study for the years 2005–2009, we analyze whether the decision for a ‘Riester pension’ is independent of the decision for unsubsidized private pension insurance using methods for simultaneous equations. Our estimates indicate that decisions on ‘Riester’ and private pensions are not independent and the proposed random parameters bivariate probit model results in efficiency gains compared to separate probit estimations. Regarding governmental subsidies, we find positive incentive effects of child subsidies, whereas low income earners are not seen to increase their old-age provisions. Further, there is strong evidence for a ‘crowding-in’ among alternative assets, i.e., that individuals holding various assets make additional investments in ‘Riester pensions’ or private pension insurances. Finally, when subsidies are given, these subsidies are a clearly stronger saving motive than the aim to make provisions for old age, a result confirmed by the additional fixed-effects estimations.
In this paper, we adopt a financial measure (net present value ratio) to assess the extent of the redistribution of lifetime earnings operated by the introduction of a notional defined contribution (NDC) system in the Italian PAYGO system. Our simulations are based on a representative sample of the Italian population consisting of individuals born between 1975 and 2000. We identify three channels of redistribution: between genders (from men to women), along educational lines (from the less-well-educated to the highly educated) and between diverse lifetime-earnings quintiles (from the poor to the rich). This happens because certain groups of individuals systematically live shorter-than-average lives (men, the less well-educated and the poor), whereas others live longer-than-average lives (women, the highly educated and the rich) and, at the same time, the NDC system does not take into account such differences. Comparison between the old defined benefit system and the reformed NDC one shows that intergenerational fairness has improved sensibly but differences between gender and educational levels remained nearly the same. Sensitivity analysis and the consideration of survival pensions in our simulations confirm the general trends of our base case.
This article discusses the evolution of the total and social public expenditure in Uruguay during the 20th century. It analyzes the growth path of the social public expenditure and the extent up to which it could be preserved from the cyclical economic downturns and the fiscal constraints of the Public Sector. The paper finds a low long-run elasticity of public spending to GDP – leading to a slow growth of social public expenditure and a remarkable procyclical pattern of total and social public expenditure. It also shows that social spending, especially education expenditure, has often been used as an instrument to curb budget deficits. No distinctive «fiscal regimes» for the period could be identified.
This paper reviews three UK-based welfare-to-work programmes featuring time-limited financial incentives to leave out-of-work benefits for employment. The policies considered are (i) the Employment Retention and Advancement demonstration, aimed at lone parents and the long-term unemployed; (ii) In-Work Credit, aimed at lone parents on welfare; (iii) Pathways to Work, aimed at recipients of incapacity benefits. I illustrate the difficulties in extrapolating from specific findings to general policy-relevant conclusions. Finally, I depict the challenge facing evaluators in future and point to the directions in which evaluation will need to develop if it is to contribute more fully to policy-relevant evaluation.
Conditionality has increasingly been part of benefit entitlement and its effects have been examined in a number of ways. While the focus of previous research has been on general conditions such as job search and acceptance of job offers, this paper examines conditionality specifically in relation to participation in training. Using data from a qualitative evaluation of a government programme, the Skills Conditionality pilot, the paper uses two hypotheses to critically assess the effectiveness of conditionality as a benefits policy: that it is successful in increasing participation in training; and that it is harmful by reducing time for job search.
This paper argues that evidence-based policy has clearly made a worldwide impact, at least at the rhetorical and institutional levels, and in terms of analytical activity. The paper then addresses whether or not evidence-based policy evaluation has had an impact on policy formation and public service delivery. The paper uses a model of research-use that suggests that evidence can be used in instrumental, conceptual and symbolic ways. Taking four examples of the use of evidence in the UK over the past decade, this paper argues that evidence can be used instrumentally, conceptually and symbolically in complementary ways at different stages of the policy cycle and under different policy and political circumstances. The fact that evidence is not always used instrumentally, in the sense of “acting on research results in specific, direct ways” (Lavis et al., 2003, p. 228), does not mean that it has little or no influence. The paper ends by considering some of the obstacles to getting research evidence into policy and practice, and how these obstacles might be overcome.