Which policy to fight poverty?
Redistribution systems can significantly reduce income poverty, if governments invest sufficiently in them in a targeted way. However, the complexity of social benefits can undermine their effectiveness by reducing take-up. While most recipients leave social assistance quickly, some remain on it almost permanently. Some groups are more difficult to reach, such as single-parent families or disadvantaged young people without qualifications. For these people, who often live in deprived and/or remote areas, poverty is often ‘passed on’ from parents to children, due to non-monetary barriers to returning to work – lack of skills, health problems, family obligations and lack of mobility. These barriers are difficult to remove without good coordination of public policies. Yet the issue is crucial, as the persistence of poverty is mainly due to insufficient hours worked.