How to improve access to social protection for the poor? Lessons from the social assistance reform in Latvia

Gassmann, Franziska (2005). How to improve access to social protection for the poor? Lessons from the social assistance reform in Latvia.

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  • Author Gassmann, Franziska
    Title How to improve access to social protection for the poor? Lessons from the social assistance reform in Latvia
    Publication Date 2005
    Abstract This paper analyzes whether the introduction of a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) in Latvia in 2003 improved the access for the poor to social assistance, and discusses the factors influencing the development and implementation of a new policy. The former system was characterized by a multitude of state and local benefits and privileges, that was unfair and ineffective in reaching the poor. The analysis of empirical (household budget survey) and administrative data indicates that targeting of local social assistance benefits has slightly improved following the introduction of the new legislation. However, coverage with the GMI is limited and municipalities still have preference for other types of social assistance benefits. Difficulties in identifying the poor based on income, the discretion of the social worker at the local level, the low level of the GMI and the persisting notion of the ���undeserving poor�۪ are some of the causes influencing the policy outcome. The paper analyzes the factors contributing to the performance of the reformed social assistance system and provides lessons for other countries in similar circumstances. Keywords: poverty, social protection, targeting, Eastern Europe
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    Created: Fri, 13 Dec 2013, 12:12:28 JST