How reliable are social safety nets? Value and accessibility in situations of acute economic need

This paper proposes a novel empirical method for monitoring the accessibility and levels of safety net benefits. It focusses on minimum-income benefits (MIB) and other non-contributory transfers and relies on data on the amounts of cash support that individuals in need receive in practice. Results show that accessibility and benefit levels differ enormously across countries – for instance, in 2015/16, more than four out of five low-income workless one-person households received MIB in Australia, France and the United Kingdom, compared to only one in five in Greece, Italy and Korea, three countries that have since sought to strengthen aspects of safety-net provisions.