Family Benefits in Poland How Much Do They Alleviate Poverty?

Type Journal Article
Title Family Benefits in Poland How Much Do They Alleviate Poverty?
The aim of this paper was to analyse the impact of different social benefits paid to families, mainly to households with children, on the poverty rate and poverty gap, and to discuss outcomes of recent reforms. There exist different definitions of poverty. In the paper, we adopted a narrow definition of material poverty, based on material resources (income). Polish household budget survey (HBS) data for years 2003 and 2004 allowed to calculate income as a households welfare measure, and then poverty rates and poverty gaps for different households subpopulations. To assess the impact of family benefits on alleviating poverty the hypothetical poverty rates and poverty gaps were estimated, excluding selected sorts of family benefits. Additionally, we estimated models of binomial logistic regression to asses characteristics of the household that increase probability of being poor, with one of the characteristic being number
of dependant children. Family benefits, though relatively low, reduced poverty rates and per capita poverty gaps in the described period. The impact was stronger among households with children than among all households. From all family benefits family allowances are the most effective instrument of alleviating poverty. Only in case of lone parents households alimony paid from the Alimony Fund caused greater change in poverty range and depth. The family benefits
reform implemented in 2004 hardly influenced their poverty alleviation impact. Number of children was an important factor for the probability of the household to be poor but education of the household head and the main source of the household income proved to play even stronger role.

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