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The balance of family policy tools ‐ benefit packages, spending by age and families with young children

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Across OECD countries, public spending on family benefits makes up, on average, one‐tenth of total net public social spending. Since the mid‐1990s, there has been a trend increase in spending on in‐kind benefits (in particular childcare services), while spending on cash transfers has been relatively stable, even though it remains the most important of the family benefits. Before the age of three, and more often immediately following birth, poverty risks for families with young children are at their highest. In around two‐thirds of OECD countries, some families can expect to experience either deep or persistent (two or more consecutive years) poverty if one parent stops working. A review of age‐related spending on children also reveals that in many countries spending on education is prioritised, and often families with older children benefit most. Family policies were scaled up during the early crisis period as part of the stimulus packages but, with countries now moving into fiscal consolidation, resources for family policies are also being affected.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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