OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries

A Review of the Evidence

  1. This report provides an overview of the limited empirical and theoretical research on take-up of welfare benefits, i.e. the extent to which people eligible for various types of benefits actually receive them. Focus is mainly on entitlement programmes, where take-up reflects both decisions of eligible individuals to apply for benefits and the accuracy of administrative decisions as to whether these individuals should get the benefit in question or not. Estimates of the extent of take-up of welfare benefits are based on a variety of approaches, and typically combine both administrative and survey data. Despite these methodological differences, and the very few OECD countries for which estimates are available, the evidence reviewed in this paper suggests that low take-up of welfare benefits occurs both across countries and programmes. Estimates typically span a range of between 40% and 80% in the case of social assistance and housing programmes, and between 60% and 80% for ...


JEL: I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
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