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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 2 / 2017 (611), Summer

Child policy changes and estimation of income distribution effects

Eva MILITARU
National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Romania
Amalia CRISTESCU
National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Romania
The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania

Abstract. The paper explores the household income distribution effects of recent changes in social benefit policy for families with children in Romania. The particular changes we examine are the amount growth of the main social benefit for children – the universal state allowance for children – and the increase of income threshold and benefit amount for the support allowance for families with children, an important means-tested social benefit. Our approach relies on ex-post impact evaluation of policy changes through income simulation using microdata at household level. We studied the effects within specific groups of families based on number of children, but we also estimated the effects on single-parent families. The results show that recent changes have contributed to the reduction of income inequalities in general by increasing the income level at the bottom and median of the income distribution. Larger families experience higher relative income growth, as the benefits are linked with family size and their pre-reform income levels are lower.

Keywords: income distribution, family benefits, tax-benefit system, microsimulation, households.

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