The trouble with take-up

ESRI working papers represent un-refereed work-in-progress by researchers who are solely responsible for the content and any views expressed therein. Any comments on these papers will be welcome and should be sent to the author(s) by email. Papers may be downloaded for personal use only.

May 9, 2023
Attachment Size
Download PDF 670.48 KB

Take-up of social welfare is key to its success in alleviating poverty. For a variety of reasons, including stigma, transaction costs and information asymmetry, take-up of welfare benefits is imperfect. This research note discusses the issue of take-up of social welfare and its measurement. We explore the difficulties of estimating welfare take-up, using the example of the Irish Working Family Payment (WFP) and two microsimulation models. We show how estimates of take-up can vary depending on the dataset used for simulation. We then estimate take-up of the WFP, updating the most recent estimate from 2005. Lastly, we discuss policy lessons.