Chapter

Introduction

Thomas Bahle, Vanessa Hubl and Michaela Pfeifer

in The last safety net

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427250
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303879 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847427250.003.0001
Introduction

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The European welfare states have the most extensive systems of social protection in the world. In Europe, the social insurance schemes provide protection against unemployment, sickness, invalidity, and old age. Despite the protection provided by social schemes, poverty has never disappeared, and means-tested minimum income protection (MIP) has remained a necessity. In several European countries, large population groups receive MIP benefits. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, more than twenty percent of older persons depended in MIP in 2007. In the same year in Germany, more than ten percent of the adult working-age population were dependent on MIP benefits. These figures show that MIP systems include sizeable proportions of the population, despite the fact that they are considered the residual last safety net that serves only in cases of need, when people's rights to all other kinds of social benefits are exhausted or do not suffice to guarantee a social minimum. This book provides a comprehensive and recent comparative assessment of the MIP systems in seventeen European countries from the year 1992 to 2010. This book is a result of a research project that was funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung and the Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES) in Germany. The data and the analyses provided in this book are based on the newly developed project database on MIP systems that is available to the public for scientific use.

Keywords: European welfare states; social protection; social insurance schemes; minimum income protection

Chapter.  5428 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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