HIRSCH, D., 2013. Paying for children: the state's changing role and income adequacy. Journal of Social Policy, 42 (3), pp.495-512.
In a number of countries, the state has become more closely involved in helping lowincome
families with children to make ends meet – including those with low earnings
as well as out-of-work families. The adequacy of such support can be assessed
against benchmarks measuring the additional cost of a child in households that
maintain spending at a level sufficient to participate adequately in society. A
socially-defined minimum income standard provides an empirically-based
benchmark, which allows more meaningful measurement of adequacy than
measures based on relative income or actual spending patterns.
Using evidence from the Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom, this
paper considers the extent to which the UK state covers the additional cost of having
children, for non-working and low-earning families respectively. It finds that the
present system has come close to covering this cost for some low-income families,
but has started to withdraw from this position. The paper concludes by considering
advantages and pitfalls for countries of adopting targeted forms of support for
children focused on income adequacy. Such support can help working as well as
non-working families escape poverty, but also makes them heavily dependent on
state transfers to make ends meet.
Thia article was published in the Journal of Social Policy, and is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047279413000238