The Role of Social Assistance in Addressing Poverty

  • Branko Milanovic


In this section, we review how social assistance operates and what its effects are in five countries: Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Russia. The structure of each country survey is the same. We look first at who is eligible for social assistance and who the actual recipients are (where they are located along the welfare distribution curve); we then look at how much money in total is disbursed for social assistance; how much of total household expenditures are covered by social assistance and how much of the poverty gap is closed; at the end we look at the poor who do not receive social assistance. This uniform structure has both advantages and draw-backs. The advantage is that countries can be easily compared. The disadvantage is that the discussion is necessarily repetitive. However, this was the only way that a very large mass of data for each country could be presented to the reader. The reader is advised to pick and choose what he or she wants to read in this section. If she is interested in learning about the effects of social assistance in one or two countries, she can read only these country reviews. If she is interested simply in a comparison of the performance of different countries, she can almost entirely skip this section and move to the next.


Poverty Line Capita Expenditure Poor Household Social Assistance Transition Country 
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Copyright information

© Jeanine Braithwaite, Christiaan Grootaert, and Branko Milanovic 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branko Milanovic

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