How do exit rates from social assistance benefit in Belgium vary with individual and local agency characteristics?
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Greenwich, Conn. :JAI
Research in labor economics. - Greenwich, Conn., 1977, currens
, p. 151-187
University of Antwerp
The administration of social assistance benefits is devolved to local agencies in Belgium, which raises questions about how much variation in spell lengths of benefit receipt is associated with differences across agencies. We address this issue by analysing the monthly hazard of benefit exit using administrative record data for 14,270 individuals in 574 welfare agencies. Our random-effects model allows for differences in both the observed and unobserved characteristics of beneficiaries and of local agencies. There are large differences in median benefit duration for individuals serviced by different welfare agencies: the range is from two months to more than 24 months. We find strong associations between beneficiary characteristics (sex, age, foreign nationality, citizenship acquisition, work history, and being a student) and spell length. The estimates show higher odds of exiting social assistance receipt in bigger municipalities and in agencies which provide more generous supplementary assistance, and also strong evidence of shorter episodes in agencies where active labour market programme participation rates are higher.