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Cross-national Experiences

ImPRovE project: Poverty Reduction in Europe: Social Policy and Innovation (2012-2016)

In the framework of Workpackage 13 within the ImPRovE project reference budgets were constructed for the first time using a cross-nationally comparable approach in six European cities:  Antwerp (Belgium), Athens (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Budapest (Hungry), Helsinki (Finland) and Milan (Italy). 

Besides the elaboration of a common framework and method, the research also explored the potential of the reference budget indicator for contextualising poverty.

This work was led by Bérénice Storms and Karel Van den Bosch from the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy at the Universiteit Antwerpen (CSB-UA) with the collaboration of researchers from Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), TÁRKI Social Research Institute, Turun Yliopisto (UTURKU), Universita' degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo (UNIURB) and PSITIC research group from Ramon Llull University in Barcelona. 


The project was financed by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission (reference n° 290613).


  • Goedemé, T., Penne, T., Hufkens, T., Karakitsios, A., Bernát, A., Simonovits, B., Carillo Álvarez, E., Kanavitsa, E., Cussó Parcerisas, I., Riera Romaní, J., Mäkinen, L., Matsaganis, M., Arlotti, M., Kopasz, M., Szivós, P., Ritakallio, V.M., Kazepov, Y., Van den Bosch, K., Storms, B. What does it mean to live on the poverty threshold? Lessons from reference budgets. In: Cantillon, B.; Goedemé, T., Hills, J. (eds.). (2019). Decent Incomes for all? Improving Policies in Europe.  New York: Oxford University Press. (read here the CSB working paper version)

  • Goedemé, T., Storms, B., Stockman, S., Penne, T., Van den Bosch, K. (2015). Towards cross-country comparable reference budgets in Europe: first results of a concerted effort, European Journal of Social Security, 17(1), 3-30. (read)

  • Penne, T., Hufkens, T., Goedemé, T., & Storms, B. (2020). To what extent do welfare states compensate for the cost of children? The joint impact of taxes, benefits and public goods and services. Journal of European Social Policy, 30 (1), 79-94. (earlier and more extended working paper versions available online, see: CSB Working Paper Series, No. 18.11;  EUROMOD Working Paper; EM No. 13.18, and JRC Working Papers on Taxation and Structural Reforms, No 08.18, Seville: European Commission, Joint Research Centre, JRC114168)

  • Penne, T., Cussó, I., Mäkinen, L., Storms, B., Goedemé, T. (2016). Can reference budgets be used as a poverty line. ImPRovE Working Paper, No. 16.05. Antwerp: Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp - also publishes as VLAS-Studies 30

  • Storms, B., Goedemé, T., Van den Bosch, K., Devuyst, K. (2013). Towards a common framework for developing cross-nationally comparable reference budgets in Europe. ImPRovE Methodological Paper, No. 13.02, 1-26. Antwerp.

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