Scenarios for reducing poverty in Belgium, Greece and the United Kingdom
15 Apr 2016
Poverty reduction remains a huge challenge for policy makers in Europe. In this paper, we outline three strategies for identifying effective policy reform packages for reducing income poverty in Europe: (1) reversing regressive reforms and using measures of ‘poverty reduction / public budget trade-offs’ to identify efficient and effective policy reforms; (2) upscaling existing policies; (3) breaking down policies into their elementary parts and combining policy options systematically for identifying the most effective policy design. All three strategies make use of the European microsimulation EUROMOD. We illustrate them with case studies of the United Kingdom, Greece and Belgium, three countries with a very different welfare state trajectory, and social outcomes. The paper shows that all three strategies are useful for identifying policy packages that work, and for producing evidence for more effective poverty-reducing policy reform packages. We also highlight the most important limitations of our approach.