Research team

Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy

Expertise

I study poverty, inequality and social policy. My main research question is concerned with how we can understand and measure poverty in a comparable way in diverse social, economic, institutional and cultural settings and which implications this has for policies oriented at reducing poverty. Apart from that, my research interests include economic inequality, the adequacy of social policies, and in particular minimum income protection; as well as the design of adequate eco-social policies that contribute jointly to social and environmental goals. My research includes both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and is mostly oriented to cross-country comparative analysis with a particular interest in methodological issues.

Flemish participation to the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Ageing is a key societal challenge. The goal of the ESFRI project SHARE is to build a distributed infrastructure to collect a data set that offers researchers and policy makers a state-of-the-art instrument to study in a detailed and multidisciplinary way the topic of ageing, and the challenges it poses. The SHARE data set is a unique ex-ante harmonised data set of cross-national, comparable microlevel panel data on health, living conditions, socioeconomic status, and social networks of more than 123,000 European individuals aged 50 and over, covering 28 countries. The data set has become a pivotal source for empirical academic research on ageing in Europe in many disciplines, such as economics, health studies, sociology, and demography. Moreover, the SHARE data set allows to address highly policy-relevant questions about ageing, and offers unique information with regard to pressing concerns such as early labour market exit, active ageing, and long-term care.

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BELMOD. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

The aim of this project is twofold: 1. To modernize MIMOSIS, i.e. the current microsimulation model of the Belgian social security administration (FPS Social Security), in order to improve the possibilities for cooperation and knowledge exchange between the main actors of static microsimulation within Belgium and Europe by integrating it into EUROMOD. 2. To improve access to social protection in Belgium. The new microsimulation tool (preliminary working title: BELMOD) will be used to design and support evidence-based reforms aimed at furthering the automatization of social rights.

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Integrating Research Infrastructure for European expertise on Inclusive Growth from data to policy (InGRID-2). 01/05/2017 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

As part of the InGRID-2 project, the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy will coordinate Special Interest Group of the EU Reference Budgets Network, organise EUROMOD courses and an Expert Workshop on the cost and accessability of public goods and services. Furthermore, we take part in joint research activities that aim to improve the research infrastructure related to (1) assessing the distributive impact of social and fiscal policies while taking into account assets held by households; (2) measuring the out-of-pocket costs and accessibility of child care and education; (3) studying the coverage and non-take up of out-of-work benefits. In addition, the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy also takes part in the InGRID-2 programme for hosting academic visitors.

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Care and income redistributive cycles in the lives of Europeans (CIRCLE). 15/12/2016 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

The Great Recession threatens the financial sustainability of the public finances of many European countries and combined with the ongoing demographic changes poses their welfare state under stress, affecting deeply the intergenerational relationships. The aim of this project is to provide new cross-country empirical evidence of the impact of the interaction between the economic and demographic changes and the welfare systems on the distribution of the resources, rights and responsibilities between generations. In many European countries welfare provisions addressed to older people are pay as you go financed and fast population ageing boosts redistribution from the young to the old. However, compensatory mechanisms redistributing resources in the opposite direction, i.e. from the old to the young, are often implemented at intra-household level, mainly through inter-vivos transfers and informal care provisions. The analysis takes both redistributive flows into account and covers a variety of European welfare state models, giving a strong base for generalizing the results and deriving useful policy implications. In particular, the analyses relate to 1) an evaluation of the intergenerational redistribution of resources induced by the major pay as you go financed provisions of the European welfare systems addressed to older people; 2) an investigation of informal intra-household mechanisms of intergenerational insurance of income and care risks in European countries in the last ten years; 3) a study of the perceptions and comprehension that individuals have of the aims of the main welfare provisions and of their implications in term of intergenerational relationships.

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Reducing poverty by improving the take-up of social benefits by households and companies (TAKE) 15/12/2015 - 15/03/2022

Abstract

The main objective of the TAKE-project is to investigate non-take up (NTU) across Belgian public policy provisions. TAKE aims to make progress on three dimensions: how big is the problem, how can it be explained, and how should policy be (re)designed in order to maximize take-up? In addition, the project aims at examining the consequences of NTU in terms of budgetary impact and equity and at identifying the possible best practices in monitoring NTU by public administrations. For doing so, TAKE will adopt a multi-benefit approach. The focus of attention is on households with low incomes. TAKE will investigate how NTU in a variety of public goods and services affects their living standard, and how NTU can be reduced across public provisions. This project aims to jointly assess a wide variety of public provisions for citizens and companies: cash social assistance (both for the elderly and those at active age), cost compensatory benefits targeted at low income households (e.g. the 'Beneficiary of Increased Reimbursement'(BIR) in health insurance, reduced tariffs for utilities and mobility), social services (e.g. debt counselling, labour market counselling) and employer wage subsidies targeted at the low-skilled. Methodologically, the TAKE project makes use of a range of data sources and innovative research methods. First, we will collect new survey data which allow for a proper investigation into NTU in Belgium. We will carry out a survey, which is expressly tailored to the needs of making an integrated in-depth study of the size, characteristics, causes and consequences of NTU of policy measures targeted at vulnerable groups. A sample will be drawn from administrative data available to the Crossroads Bank on Social Security (CBSS). Second, for identifying NTU, one also needs a model which replicates the eligibility tests on the basis of the variables in the survey. The existing static tax-benefit microsimulation model MEFISTO will be extended and refined for doing so. MEFISTO has been developed in the framework of the IWT-SBO project 'FLEMOSI: a tool for ex ante evaluation of socio-economic policies in Flanders' (2010-2013) (see http://www.flemosi.be/easycms/MEFISTO). Third, TAKE will make use of a field experiment to test the effect of various triggers and encouragements on the uptake of the "Beneficiary of Increased Reimbursement" (BIR) statute within health insurance. Fourth, in order to study the institutional context, we will develop TAKE_ISSOC (working title), i.e. a structured and searchable database which contains the details of eligibility tests of the social benefits covered by the project and how they are implemented in practice. In addition, TAKE_ISSOC will cover measures that public administrations currently take to reduce NTU, and current monitoring practices and their outcomes with regard to NTU. The TAKE project will gather similar information on Sweden and the United Kingdom in order to identify and assess good practices. Fifth, TAKE will exploit existing administrative data collected by public agencies to investigate NTU of employment subsidies targeted at the low-skilled and other vulnerable groups in the period 2004-2013. Longitudinal administrative data from the National Social Security Office (NSSO) and from the National Employment Office (NEO) will be used for doing so. Six, to better understand the reasons for NTU of employment subsidies, the existing survey on administrative charges will be used. This survey measures the costs of administrative charges related to employment legislation incurred by employers in Belgium. TAKE will be able to gather valuable information on non-take up of wage subsidies by adding specific questions to this survey.

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Project website

The impact of the 'proactive flux' on the uptake of the "Beneficiary of Increased Reimbursement" (BIR) statute in health care. A field experiment. 21/10/2015 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

In this study we evaluate in collaboration with CM the impact of the pro-active eligibility check on the uptake of the increased reimbursement statute in health care. We make use of an experimental design.

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SHARE-België, Golf 8 - jaar 1 (SHARE-W8-1). 01/12/2017 - 30/11/2018

Abstract

Dit project kadert in een ESFRI-onderzoeksopdracht tussen enerzijds UA en anderzijds ESFRI. UA levert aan ESFRI de onderzoeksresultaten genoemd in de titel van het project onder de voorwaarden zoals vastgelegd in voorliggend contract.xx

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The welfare state at your service? Towards a better understanding of the impact of public goods and services on poverty in Europe. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Publicly provided or subsidised goods and services account for about half of social expenditures in European welfare states. Obviously, this has an important impact upon the living standard of households. Nevertheless, current methods trying to include the value of services into measures of cash incomes largely fail to take into account household needs associated with these services. This project seeks to contribute to the measurement of poverty in welfare states by developing a new way to examine the impact of public services on poverty. The proposal distinguishes four research phases. First, patterns in the cost and accessibility of public services in European welfare states will be studied. Second, on the basis of a new dataset of cross-country comparable reference budgets the project aims to estimate the effect of services and cost-compensations on the budget that specific family types need at the minimum for adequate social participation. For six European countries new poverty thresholds will be estimated which take account of the needs of households and the cost for accessing essential services. Third, the estimated poverty thresholds will be extrapolated to the population by developing a new approach which combines information from reference budgets and household expenditure data. Finally, on the basis of a representative income survey the profile of the poor will be studied and compared to results based on more traditional poverty indicators.

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To take or not to take? Towards a better understanding of institutional and personal barriers to claiming benefits. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

Social benefits targeted at the poor are an important part of modern welfare states. However, recent evidence shows that in many European countries only a fraction of those that are supposed to benefit, take up their social rights. Yet, we have relatively little insight into what drives nontake- up and how policy design can be improved so as to increase take-up. Furthermore, research on this topic, especially in Belgium, is rather scarce. This is unfortunate, because non-take-up undermines the effectiveness of public policies, and a better understanding of non-take-up could make a significant contribution to further insights into economic behaviour of households and their interaction with the welfare state. Therefore, the main objective of this research proposal is to investigate non-take-up of Belgian social assistance schemes and to make progress on three dimensions on which we lack evidence: 1) the size (how big is the problem?), 2) the causes (how can it be explained?) and 3) the solutions (what can be done?). To do so, I will build on the latest theoretical insights, collect and analyse new and existing administrative and survey data, and make use of both microsimulation techniques and field experiments. The results will allow us to a) generate new insights into the economic behaviour of households in general, and the non-take up of social benefits in particular; and b) inform policy makers on how to make existing policy measures more effective for reducing poverty.

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Testing the application of the water affordability indicator in Flanders 07/07/2017 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This is a project carried out for Flanders Environment Agency. The purpose is to develop and apply a method that should allow the Flemish Water Regulator to: - assess in an objective way the affordability of the water bill in Flanders, in particular for vulnerable households - track the evolution of the affordability of the water bill in the future - carry out social impact simulations of changes to the tariff structure of the water bill

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ESS ERIC CST Sampling and Weighting Expert Panel. 01/06/2017 - 31/05/2019

Abstract

For the duration of the contract, Tim Goedemé will contribute as an expert member to the work of the ESS ERIC CST Sampling and Weighting Expert Panel. This panel sets out the strategy for sampling and weighting in the European Social Survey (ESS), and is responsible for reviewing sampling strategies in each participating country. More information is available at the ESS website: http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/methodology/ess_methodology/sampling.html.

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A safety net that holds. Institutional determinants of adequate poverty relief. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

Minimum income provisions (MIP) make up our ultimate safety net against extreme financial hardship and poverty. Social safety net provisions in Europe come in many shapes and forms. Their generosity levels differ quite considerably, as do entitlement requirements and behavioral conditions for continued receipt. Yet scholarly research has so far found it very difficult to link such differences, as they exist on paper, to observed poverty outcomes. We know surprisingly little about their actual effectiveness in alleviating poverty. Building on a new analytical approach, this project aims to establish which institutional characteristics, and constellations thereof, matter most for effective poverty relief. To that purpose we will use for the first time a cutting-edge add-on to the EUROMOD microsimulation model that will allow us to link in a far more accurate and sophisticated way defining features of MIP schemes to observed outcomes. Prior to that we will develop a conceptual framework that sets out in a systematic and rigorous way which institutional characteristics of MIP schemes matter for poverty outcomes and how. With this project we hope to advance not only our theoretical and empirical insight of how social safety nets actually matter for effective poverty relief but we also hope to come up with guidelines that can serve to build more performant provisions.

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Strategic advice for the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN2 Project). 01/01/2017 - 23/12/2018

Abstract

The main aim of the Second European Minimum Income Network (EMIN 2) Project, over its two-year implementation will be to strengthen networking, awareness raising and policy debate at EU and national level on the importance of adequate and accessible Minimum Income Schemes in the EU. Under this contract Antwerp University will participate and contribute to the work of the EMIN2 Steering Committee and contribute to link the work of the EU Referenced Budget Network to the work of the EMIN 2 project. More generally, Antwerp University will provide advice to EMIN 2 regarding all its work related to reference budgets.

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Project website

SHARE - Belgium, Wave 7 - year 2. 01/12/2016 - 30/11/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand ESFRI. UA provides ESFRI research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Third network for the Analysis of EU-SILC – Net-SILC3. 01/04/2016 - 31/03/2020

Abstract

In this project, funded by Eurostat and coordinated by LISER, we are responsible for a work package in which we document the composition and comparability of the EU-SILC income variables. The information will be brought together in a freely accessible database - MetaSILC 2015. In addition, we take care of the scientific coordination of a Best Practice Workshop on the validity and comparability of the income, health and housing variables in EU-SILC

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What is a decent minimum income? Reference budgets for adequate social participation 18/01/2016 - 15/03/2016

Abstract

The project involved the pre-publication of the book 'How much income do households need to make ends meet? Reference budgets for adequate social participation in Flanders and Brussels' (in Dutch). The pre-publication was financed by federal State secretary for poverty reduction, Elke Sleurs. The book builds on the results of recently completed projects on reference budgets, and brings together up to date insights into the minimum resources required for adequate social participation in Belgium.

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ESFRI-project SHARE. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand ESFRI. UA provides ESFRI research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Explorative study on an appropriate indicator to measure the affordability of water. 07/10/2015 - 15/12/2015

Abstract

With this project we aim to explore how the affordability of water consumption by household actors can be appropriately measured. In addition we will assess possibilities of developing an 'affordability indicator' for Flanders. Finally, we will explore the literature regarding affordability indicators of water consumption by non-household actors.

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The welfare state at your service? Towards a better understanding of the impact of public goods and services on poverty in Europe. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Publicly provided or subsidised goods and services account for about half of social expenditures in European welfare states. Obviously, this has an important impact upon the living standard of households. Nevertheless, current methods trying to include the value of services into measures of cash incomes largely fail to take into account household needs associated with these services. This project seeks to contribute to the measurement of poverty in welfare states by developing a new way to examine the impact of public services on poverty. The proposal distinguishes four research phases. First, patterns in the cost and accessibility of public services in European welfare states will be studied. Second, on the basis of a new dataset of cross-country comparable reference budgets the project aims to estimate the effect of services and cost-compensations on the budget that specific family types need at the minimum for adequate social participation. For six European countries new poverty thresholds will be estimated which take account of the needs of households and the cost for accessing essential services. Third, the estimated poverty thresholds will be extrapolated to the population by developing a new approach which combines information from reference budgets and household expenditure data. Finally, on the basis of a representative income survey the profile of the poor will be studied and compared to results based on more traditional poverty indicators.

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Reconciling environmental and social goals in the transition towards a low-carbon society (SUSPENS) 01/01/2015 - 31/03/2019

Abstract

Both at the Belgian and European level, the transition to a low-carbon society is considered an important policy concern. In this project, we start from the framework of sustainable development for contributing to the debate about how the transition to a low-carbon society can be achieved, while reconciling environmental and social goals. As has been documented for other countries, standard policy instruments often create trade-offs between the different goals of sustainable development. Addressing these trade-offs – as well as their translation into inequalities between socio-economic groups – requires a thorough understanding of the link between incomes, consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at the household level. Therefore, in this project we explore the interdependencies and inequalities operating at the micro-level and investigate how policy can reconcile social and environmental goals in the transition towards a low-carbon society.

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(Social differences in) labour market position and labour market trajectories of (ex-)cancer patients in Belgium: a large-scale, longitudinal analysis based on administrative databases. 01/09/2014 - 31/05/2019

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLK. UA provides VLK research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Eurostat estimates data evaluation on EU2020 targets and recommendations on methodology and data for estimating variation estimates users. 19/04/2013 - 30/06/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other FOD Sociale Zekerheid. UA provides FOD Sociale Zekerheid research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Poverty reduction in Europe: social policy and innovation (IMPROVE). 01/03/2012 - 30/04/2016

Abstract

This research proposal takes as its starting points: (a) the long standstill in poverty reduction, especially for people of working age, (b) the complementarity between employment, economic growth and social inclusion that is focal in the EU 2020 strategy, and, (c) the emergence of socially innovative policies and actions in the margins of the European welfare states. It aims at the evaluation of the Lisbon decade in terms of policies and actions against poverty at European, national and sub-national level and at improving the understanding of the interrelationships between employment, social protection and social inclusion and between institutionalised macro level social policies and innovative local action.

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Eastern European welfare regimes within Social Europe. A comparison of the architecture and social adequacy of the income protection of the elderly in three Eastern European countries. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

In this project, the architecture and social adequacy of the welfare regimes in the Eastern EU member states is compared. In order to do so, the project focuses on the evolution of the elderly's income situation. Using various quantitative techniques the effect of cross-temporary and cross-sectional differences in social policy on the intergenerational and intra-generational distribution of income is estimated. More specifically the importance of differences in income packages (public, private, occupational pensions, compensations in health-care and housing, income from work) for the adequacy of incomes are scrutinized. In doing so, the project contributes to a better understanding of the impact of social policy on social outcomes and to the literature on the evolution of welfare regimes.

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Eastern European welfare regimes within Social Europe. A comparison of the architecture and social adequacy of the income protection of the elderly in three Eastern European countries 01/10/2006 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

In this project, the architecture and social adequacy of the welfare regimes in the Eastern EU member states is compared. In order to do so, the project focuses on the evolution of the elderly's income situation. Using various quantitative techniques the effect of cross-temporary and cross-sectional differences in social policy on the intergenerational and intra-generational distribution of income is estimated. More specifically the importance of differences in income packages (public, private, occupational pensions, compensations in health-care and housing, income from work) for the adequacy of incomes are scrutinized. In doing so, the project contributes to a better understanding of the impact of social policy on social outcomes and to the literature on the evolution of welfare regimes.

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