The main reason for the change from monetary social assistance to the minimum income benefit in 2010/11 was to combat poverty but also to facilitate access to the benefit. A key performance criterion of social protection systems is that benefits reach their target groups. Means-tested programmes, however, tend to be characterised by a certain extent of access problems. Empirical evidence for several EU-countries suggests that non-take-up of means-tested benefits is a widespread problem. Monetary social assistance and its successor minimum income benefit are the most relevant benefits in terms of non-take-up in Austria. Our previous research showed this for monetary social assistance in 2003. The reform towards the minimum income benefit aimed at tackling the non-take-up issue through changing the system and delivery and through simplifying the application procedure. Thus, with our proposed research we will contribute to an improved understanding of the effects of social reforms, and ultimately to a better policy design in Austria.
However, a variety of research shows that non-take-up analysis has to deal with measurement errors that might distort the empirical results. We will make use of several methods to quantify potential measurement errors. However, given that the underlying EU-SILC micro-data for Austria was recently changed from survey to register data for almost all income sources, this offers the chance to significantly reduce the measurement error related to reported incomes. By comparing results based on register and survey data, the study will contribute to a better assessment of the measurement error and as such to a better estimation and understanding of the non-take-up of benefits of last resort.
This project aims to measure and analyse the target efficiency of the minimum income benefit and its predecessor benefit called monetary social assistance, the benefits of last resort in Austria. It will provide an up-to-date estimate of the size and determinants of non-take-up of minimum income benefit for the year 2013 as well as of monetary social assistance for the year 2009 and compare it also with the situation back in 2003.
Both, the replacement of monetary social assistance by the minimum income benefit as well as the change in the EU-SILC from survey to register data offer an interesting and unique combination to investigate the access to benefits. In this context, the envisaged study will:
In the project, we will use the following methods: