Measuring Universality in Social Protection: a pilot study on unemployment benefits

The purpose of this report is to analyse the degree of universality of unemployment benefits across EU Member States. This study builds upon the conceptual framework to define and measure the universality of social protection from Muñoz de Bustillo et al. (2020), and upon Arranz et al. (2021), who operationalize and test on a pilot basis the previous analytical framework for an EU Member State (Spain). In the case of UB, coverage should be measured using a percentage rate of unemployed covered by unemployment benefits, and adequacy using a replacement rate during the unemployment spell, i.e. the proportion of pre-unemployment income that is maintained after t months of unemployment. We rely on EU-level data from Eurostat and the OECD and propose an approach for measuring the adequacy and coverage of UB across the EU, discussing the pros and cons of different indicators. The best indicators are aggregated into a synthetic index of universality of unemployment benefits for each Member State. The report concludes with a set of considerations and recommendations arising from the measurement process carried out.