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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper
Title Social Transfers and Capability-Building for the Roma
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
City Groningen
URL Rat HDCA 2006.doc
The definition of social transfers as human resource investments becomes problematic in the case of categories of the population who are strongly prejudiced or whose severe deprivation does not allow noticeable progress in their social inclusion. In the post-socialist part of Europe, the unemployed members of the Roma minority are often regarded as welfare dependent abusers of the public-good, who prevent the state to invest in the “genuine” human resources. Embracing Sen’s “capability” approach these problems gain a different interpretation, moving from the dominant “Roma-right” and “Roma-underclass” frameworks.
The analysis of pre- and post-transfers poverty in Romania reveals that between 1995-2002 the Roma did not benefit from more substantial social transfers than the non-Roma. Moreover, inequalities between the Roma and non-Roma households sharpened even more after social transfers. For the long-term unemployed, the most frequent escape from unemployment was early retirement, which did not prevent them from falling below the poverty line but further increased the overall dependency rate.
The paper investigates the impact of the Law on the Minimum Income Guarantee (2002) and of labour-force activation measures which target the socio-economically deprived members of the Roma minority. It argues that these measures can hardly complement each other when community work (the condition to receive MIG) is perceived as punitive, and the amount of benefits is insufficient for attending courses of vocational qualification and job-shops.

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