Tracking caseloads: the changing composition of working-age benefit receipt in Europe

Johan De Deken and Jochen Clasen

in Regulating the Risk of Unemployment

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592296
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731471 | DOI:
Tracking caseloads: the changing composition of working-age benefit receipt in Europe

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Reliable cross-national information about the number of working-age persons in receipt of income transfers (caseloads) would be highly valuable for comparative welfare state research, as well as for policymakers’ intent on addressing the problem of ‘benefit dependency’. In principle, caseloads could complement or replace conventional indicators of welfare state change, such as social expenditure or social rights. For example, shifts in caseloads across different transfer programmes seem a more appropriate indicator of benefit homogenization or risk re-categorization than changes in social spending. However, the chapter shows that existing international data sources are faced with a number of methodological challenges. Making use of administrative data collected by authors of the country chapters for this book, the chapter subsequently explores the possibilities offered by caseload data and describes cross-national trends in the scope and composition of benefit receipt over time.

Keywords: income transfers; comparative caseload data; benefit claims; cross-national research; social expenditure; risk re-categorization; benefit dependency

Chapter.  8902 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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