Measuring the size and impact of public cash support for children in cross-national perspective

Publication type:

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number:



Francesco Figari, Alari Paulus and Holly Sutherland

Publication date

4 Sep 2009


We suggest a new comprehensive measure of support given through tax-benefit systems to families with children. Using microsimulation techniques, this accounts for all provisions contingent on the presence of children, while usually only gross child/family benefits are considered. We use EUROMOD, the European Union tax-benefit microsimulation model, to quantify the support for children and analyse its impact on household incomes and child poverty for 19 countries. We find that the conventional approach underestimates on average the total amount of support for children by about one fifth. Furthermore, the differences between two measures vary considerably across countries and are, therefore, critical for cross-national comparisons.


Welfare Benefits and Microsimulation