Since reaching its post‐war peak in late 2009, OECD‐wide unemployment has declined only modestly and long‐term unemployment has continued to rise. This chapter examines how well social safety‐net systems in OECD countries have stood up to the
"Great Recession" and asks what insights this experience has offered. The findings provide the basis for a better understanding of the operation of unemployment benefit schemes and "last resort" benefits, such as social assistance, during a deep recession.
Potentially significant gaps in the safety net for the unemployed are identified and the advantages and disadvantages of taking crisis‐related measures to raise benefit levels or expand coverage during a deep recession are weighed.