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The Great Wake-Up Call? Social Citizenship and Minimum Income Provisions in Europe in Times of Crisis

  • SARAH MARCHAL (a1), IVE MARX (a2) and NATASCHA VAN MECHELEN (a3)
Abstract

When the 2008 crisis hit, social safety nets in Europe were not in the best of shape. This article examines what, if anything, governments did to adjust minimum income protection after two decades of relative neglect. In view of the hardship brought on by the crisis, this question is of importance in itself. In addition, there is a long-standing interest in the role crises play in re-shaping policies, possibly in a radical way. Building on purpose-collected data for twenty-four European countries, this article shows that many countries introduced supportive measures during the first years of the crisis, particularly in the form of additional benefit increases and more generous child benefits. Behavioural requirements imposed on minimum income recipients were not relaxed but in some countries activation efforts were intensified. Although the evidence shows that the crisis did trigger a response, there is little evidence for a structural change of course towards more adequate safety nets.

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Journal of Social Policy
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