The Financial Impact of Government Policies on Families with Children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia
Year: 2009 Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Pages: 48-68
Abstract: In the presented paper we focus on the two ways in which family policy influences life of the society. Firstly, we discuss incentives that the family policy provides to families when they are deciding about having a child. Secondly, we describe the impact of family policies on standard of living and well-being of the families with children. European countries already acknowledged the fact that increase in the fertility rates would be natural solution of the ageing of the European population and family policy is seen as one of the tools available to achieve higher fertility rates. At the same time empirical evidence suggests that the families with children are overrepresented among the population at risk of poverty and family policy can be seen as an instrument for alleviating the financial burden of the families with children. Presented study compares the impact of the government policies on the net income of families with children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Comparative analysis of the birth grants, the maternity allowances, the child-rearing allowances and child allowances in the four examined countries is undertaken followed by the assessment of tax systems in these countries. Second part of the paper is devoted to the discussion of the income situation of the families with children in the four countries and tries to shed light on the impact of family benefit system on the households with dependent children. Our results indicate that family provisions in the Czech Republic and Hungary are relatively generous with the Czech system working simultaneously as a social assistance to poor families and the Hungarian system working on much less of a sliding scale of benefits. Poland provides only very modest financial support to families with children and the burden imposed by the parenthood is much heavier than in the three other countries. Czech and Slovak family support systems are similar in its structure but amounts paid to Slovak families are lower.
JEL classification: H24, J13
Keywords: Family policy, income taxation, subsidies, fertility, family benefits
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