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Acta Oeconomica
Authors: Jorge de Andrés-Sánchez, Ángel Belzunegui-Eraso, and Francesc Valls-Fonayet


The relationship between social expenditure, on the one hand, and poverty or income inequality indicators, on the other, focuses a great interest in the literature on welfare systems. In this paper, we evaluate the efficiency of the social transfer policies of the EU-28 states between 2011 and 2015 using deterministic and stochastic frontier models. Using the fuzzy clustering methods, we identify the patterns in the size of welfare systems, which we measure from the value and efficiency of social expenditure. In this way, we identify four clusters. The first cluster comprises many EU-15 countries (normally the Continental and the Nordic welfare states); the second comprises nations that were integrated into the EU in the last 15 years (mostly the former Communist countries); the third cluster comprises the culturally and geographically heterogeneous countries, such as Hungary, Ireland, Croatia and Luxemburg (whose main characteristic is the high efficiency of their social expenditure); and finally, the fourth group basically comprises the southern European countries, whose social transfer policy effectiveness is rather weak.

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