Going regional. The effectiveness of different tax-benefit policies in combating child poverty in Spain
EUROMOD Working Paper Series
1 Mar 2012
In recent years, child-related policies in Spain have experienced relevant changes at different government levels. The central government implemented a new universal child benefit at birth and reformed some of the most relevant policies for children living in low income households. Also, many regional governments (Comunidades Autónomas) have implemented their own policies to support families with children with different schemes in terms of design and generosity. All these policies have increased social protection expenditure aimed at families and children in Spain as a whole along the last decade (one of the lowest in the EU). So far, however, little is known about their impact on child poverty in Spain. Making use of the tax-benefit microsimulation model for the European Union – EUROMOD – this paper simulates the eligibility and receipt of most of the existing monetary child-related policies at all government levels and assesses their real (for central government policies) or potential (for regional policies) effect on the reduction of child poverty in Spain. Our results underline that, even after the introduction of a universal lump-sum benefit for newborns at the central government level in 2007, in aggregate terms, central government tax credits are the main child-related policy in Spain. Results also underline that central government policies have a considerably larger role in reducing poverty risk even if policies in some regions perform best than others. In general, our simulations suggest that regional benefits and tax credits reinforce and complement the focus of central government policies on younger children, who, on the other hand, seem to be less vulnerable to poverty than older children in Spain.