Study on Child Poverty and Child Well-Being in the EUChildren are an especially vulnerable group because of their dependent status and because they can only partly influence their own well-being. They are also our future: lack of opportunities during childhood all too often will have long-term consequences for the individuals concerned and for society as a whole. Swift action will instead pay off now as well as bear fruit in the years to come by breaking the vicious cycle of the inter-generational transmission of poverty.
Combating child poverty and improving child well-being have therefore become key issues on the policy agenda of the EU and Members States. Following the work carried out in 2007 and 2008 by the European Commission and the Member States in the context of the European Strategy for Social Inclusion, notably the report prepared by the EU Task-Force on Child Poverty and Child Well-Being, a new study has been launched this year to contribute to the development of more coherent and integrated policies in this area. The study was carried out by TARKI Social Research Institute (Budapest), in collaboration with Applica (Brussels).
Project on Millenium Development Goals'I hope sincerely that the findings of this Report support and promote the preparation and implementation of National Action Plans on social inclusion. The process of preparing the Report has already focused the debate on specific development priorities and has helped in drawing up action points for policy reform, institutional change and resource allocation.' So wrote Dr Kinga Göncz (former state secretary at the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Family) on the Millennium Development Goals Report for Hungary, produced by TÁRKI for the UNDP.
"Barriers to Roma Employment"TÁRKI was the UNDP's Hungarian partner for its 2005 project entitled Barriers to Employment Policy Analysis. This policy-oriented research set out to identify the existing barriers to employment facing Roma, and to suggest possible short- and medium-term steps to increase the employability of Roma, relative to other groups. The same research was carried out in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. As part of the project we: (1) held several roundtable meetings at regional and national level with the various groups involved, to gather their opinions and suggestions on how to increase employment opportunities; (2) conducted desk research on the social, economic and legal determinants and the barriers of the labour market, from the perspective of the Roma and other vulnerable and unemployed groups; (3) drew up policy recommendations and an implementation package on employment promotion for the vulnerable groups; and (4) developed proposals for possible future projects, targeting the major areas identified in order to test the policy recommendations.
Vulnerable groups survey: the situation of Roma in Central and Eastern EuropeThis survey "offers the most accurate picture of the Roma ever compiled." - said the UNDP press release (Sofia, 2 February 2005) about the survey, which was conducted among the Roma people of Hungary by TÁRKI. 'The data release is timed to coincide with the launch of the "Decade of Roma Inclusion", a 10-year effort to integrate the Roma into the European mainstream. The "Decade" aims to provide a policy framework for governments to set their own goals for Roma integration. The current dataset provides a strong analytical backbone for future policies.'
Social ProtectionDuring the preparations for EU enlargement, the European Commission constantly sought to improve its knowledge of the challenges to social cohesion, and of the strategic policy responses adopted in candidate countries to tackle these challenges. An important milestone was the 2002 project to prepare for the accession states to plug into the ongoing process of exchange of good practice within the Union. With this in mind, a series of studies was conducted to describe and analyse the social protection systems in the 13 candidate countries on the basis of a common methodology, identifying the major challenges facing each in the social, economic and demographic contexts, assessing recent reform efforts, and highlighting major issues for further reform. TÁRKI prepared the Hungarian study, which covered such issues as pensions, health, poverty and social exclusion. Using a common format, the country studies described and analysed the main features of the social protection system as it was then, considering the economic, financial, social and demographic context in which the system operated.
Social Situation ObservatorySince 2005 TÁRKI is a member of a consortium that monitors and reports on trends in income distribution and social inclusion - i.e. on the overall inclusiveness of European society. The Social Situation Observatory monitors regularly the situation regarding income and wealth, the impact of the tax-benefit system, access to services, questions related to poverty, and population groups particularly at risk of exclusion. This involves examining the relationship between income and living standards and the extent to which the former, as usually defined and measured, determines the latter, and, accordingly, how far households and the people living in them are able to participate fully in society and avoid deprivation and exclusion. It also involves consideration of other factors that influence living standards and involvement in society, particularly the tax and benefit system in place in different countries, and other measures implemented by governments to provide social support, as well as access to employment, decent housing and so on.
The Social Situation Observatory was established by the European Commission in 2005.
The Observatory includes three multi-disciplinary networks of independent experts covering health, demography and income distribution. The network on income distribution and living conditions consists of Applica in Brussels (consortium leader), the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna, Tárki in Budapest and ISER at the University of Essex in the UK.
The task of the network is to analyse each year the latest data on income distribution, the risk of poverty and social deprivation across the EU and to examine major issues in this broad area and so contribute to the development of evidence-based policies.
The results of the analysis are published in the annual Monitoring Report , a series of Research Notes , Methodological Papers and Policy Briefs on specific issues of policy relevance as well as in the Social Situation Report.
Adequacy of Old-Age Income Maintenance in the EU (AIM)TÁRKI is the Hungarian partner in an international group within the European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes (ENEPRI) that is undertaking research on the Adequacy of Old-Age Income Maintenance in the EU (AIM). The project aims to develop a new approach and new methods for assessing the performance and adequacy of the pension systems, taking full account of the constraint of sustainability. The project will not delve deep into sustainability issues, but will analyse, in general terms, the methodology used to assess how well pensions can deliver adequate old-age income maintenance, given the requirement for overall sustainability of public finances. AIM is financed under the Sixth European Framework Programme for Research. It began in May 2005 and includes partners from both the old and the new EU Member States. Partners and a description of the consortium can be found at the ENEPRI site .
Ageing, Health Status and Determinants of Health Expenditure (AHEAD)TÁRKI is Hungary's representative in the policy-oriented research Ageing, Health Status and Determinants of Health Expenditure (AHEAD). The project (which falls within the ENEPRI network) seeks to refine the existing estimates of the links between reported states of health and use of medical services. As well as looking at the effects of ageing on health care, the research considers the link between health expenditure and fertility rates, and the demands placed on health services by non-native populations. Particular attention is paid to the cost of care near death. A study will be made of the factors other than demand (such as methods of financial control) that may influence health spending. An important aspect of this research is that the work is being carried out in such a way as to provide not only the familiar projections and scenarios, but also standard deviations and confidence limits for the prediction of key variables such as healthy life expectancy and demand-driven expenditure levels.
EuroAlmaLaurea (EAL-NET)Our institute is the Hungarian partner in the EAL-NET (EuroAlmaLaurea) project. Its goal is to demonstrate the economic sustainability and the viability of a new transnational eRecruitment service aimed at university graduates and businesses. The EAL system is based on a 'graduate record', which every university already possesses for its own management and administrative purposes (personal data, student career, degree, other specialisations, etc.). This record can be enriched with additional data and information provided directly by the student just before graduation. In Hungary the graduate CVs are provided by ELTE University. EAL-NET is Trans-European in scope: it aims to extend the Italian initiative to six countries, including Hungary and Poland, and links together the most relevant stakeholders involved in eRecruitment (universities and employment agencies). The project originated from a preliminary feasibility study, which was financed by the European Union under the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
Visit the project website .
Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe - LLL 2010.TÁRKI is participating in a project entitled Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System (LLL 2010). This project is being undertaken to identify the role of education systems in European countries in the implementation of the Lisbon strategy. The project focuses on the part the education system plays in making lifelong learning a reality, and on its role as a potential agency of social integration. The project aims to study the effect of relevant country-specific institutions and educational policies on the participation of adults in, and their access to, lifelong learning. This is the approach that is being taken because the educational system is viewed as being subject to multiple and multilevel influences, and as being part of a country-specific institutional package.
Households, Work and FlexibilityTÁRKI was a partner in the HWF (Households, Work and Flexibility) project, supported by the Fifth EU Framework Programme. Flexibility has long been a topic of debate in Western Europe, and this debate is now coming to the fore in the New European Countries (EU10) as well. In this comparative research, a representative sample survey of the following countries was used: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. The surveys were carried out in 2001 (N=11194). The research considered how flexible the workforce was by looking at the extent of time, place, contract and income flexibility, and at the ways in which these are combined. First, the literature and the macroeconomic and macro-social context of flexibility were summarised in contemporary Europe. A comparative analysis was carried out, focusing on the various aspects of flexibility, such as the social characteristics of flexible workers in different countries, the association between social status and flexibility, work and job values, flexibility of young people, etc. At the same time, the project compared the demographic, labour-market and social-policy characteristics and how they related to flexibility in each country.
See more details at project website.
WORKCARETÁRKI is the Hungarian partner on the WORKCARE project, supported by the Sixth EU Framework Programme, starting in 2006. This project relies heavily on the results of the Household, Work and Flexibility project. The WORKCARE comparative research project explores the relationships between (at the macro level) structural changes on the labour market, demography, and welfare and economic policies, and (at the micro level) changes in individual attitudes to work and care. At the macro level the project is concerned with measuring the quality of society, and at the micro level the quality of life. The intention is for this project to go beyond the existing literature on individual attitudes and welfare regimes, and to integrate perspectives of gender and care into an analysis that encompasses Europe as a whole, including the new Member States. In order to do this, an analytical framework must be developed that takes account of the orientation, actions, capabilities and satisfaction of actors with the work and care systems as they construct a work-life balance. The work will be based on an analysis of the relevant indicators from existing sources, and will be supplemented by qualitative interviews from five countries. The project will contribute to key European issues, providing a better understanding of the impact of social policies on work and care, the effects of the competing demands of work and care on fertility decisions, and the consequences of flexibility and working times on the organisation of work, care and welfare.
Visit project website
Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-economic Research - CHERTÁRKI was involved in a project financed by the Fifth EU Framework Programme. The main work of the Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-Economic Research (CHER) project was to create a comparative micro database that contained comparable variables transformed according to a common plan and that was built using standardised international classifications, wherever available. Information in these harmonised datasets is available: (a) for households and individuals at the micro level; (b) for single years; and (c) as longitudinal information, all linked to macro and institutional data. The comparative database contains harmonised and consistent variables and identical data structures for each country included: the 14 EU countries at the time, Poland, Hungary, Canada and the USA. The data are stored as system files for the statistical packages SPSS, SAS and Stata. They contain identical variable names, labels, values and data structures. Each country file is adequately anonymised and can therefore be rated as a file for scientific use.
I-CUETÁRKI is the Hungarian participant in the EU-funded I-CUE project (2005-8). The project is co-ordinated by ISER (Institute for Social and Economic Research, UK) and the European Centre, Vienna, and aims to start the process of expanding EUROMOD to cover the 10 new Member States and to make EUROMOD easier to use. (EUROMOD is a project to develop the European tax and benefit model. See the EUROMOD website - external link.) Each country produced a feasibility study, which included a description of the tax-benefit system, as well as data availability and access issues. After the study was completed, it was discussed at a workshop in Vienna (April 2006) and various countries were picked: 'After a long deliberation, the Project Team (including the EUROMOD "core team" in Essex and the European Centre team) agreed to select Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia as the four countries that we would aim to integrate into EUROMOD as part of I-CUE.' The second phase of the project starts in autumn 2006.
View project website at ISER.
Download "I-CUE Fesibility Study: Hungary" a paper written by Noémi F. Varga, András Gábos, Péter Szivós, Györgyi Vajda. (2006 June).
View I-CUE Feasibilty Studies homepage at European Center.
Income distribution - background studies for the OECDTÁRKI is the Hungarian partner in a group of experts from the OECD member countries that, from time to time, provides data from national datasets based on common assumptions and definitions. An analysis of income distribution and poverty at the end of the 1990s was carried out in three waves, based on the main findings of national household surveys and on other micro datasets. The country submissions were based on a standard questionnaire that used common assumptions and definitions to increase the degree of cross-country comparability. The OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee discusses the documents, and the data are used in several OECD publications.
Related pages:Michael Förster and Marco Mira d'Ercole: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries in the Second Half of the 1990s. Open report at OECD site by Michael Förster and Marco Mira d'Ercole. (10-March-2005, title: "Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries in the Second Half of the 1990s.")
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)TÁRKI was the Hungarian partner in the World Bank research on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which was supported by a grant from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs. The research focused on the attitudes of the 500 biggest companies - both state and privately owned - towards the concept of CSR. The work has contributed to our understanding of CSR practices and has been important to World Bank activities supporting development in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Read press release of the World Bank (11/16/2005)
Results have been presented in a conference organized jointly by the European Comission and the World Bank (Brussel, Belgium February 20, 2006). Download Piotr Mazurkiewicz's presentation: What Does Business Think About Corporate Social Responsibility in the New Member States?
World Bank Poverty AssessmentTÁRKI produced a background study for the 1998 World Bank Poverty Assessment review of Hungary. The paper was part of a project that had three different elements. First, a new release of all the completed waves of the Hungarian Panel Study was prepared and, after it was supplemented by a new, comprehensive weighting system, this was handed over to the World Bank research team as the empirical foundation for their research. Second, a comprehensive overview was drawn up of longitudinal poverty trends in Hungary. That paper covered the most important issues of the dynamics of poverty and inequality in Hungary during the transition years. Third, TÁRKI carried out a cross-sectional survey of incomes and the labour-market position of Hungarian households in 1998. Under the contract, the dataset was released to the WB research team for its poverty assessment study. Data provision and analysis were provided to the Bank on a consultancy basis.
World Internet Project (WIP)WIP is a major, international, collaborative project that looks at the social, political and economic impact of the Internet and other new technologies. Hungary has been participated in this longitudinal, cross-national study since 2001. It is the 6th wave of the yearly survey to be completed in July, 2006 by a research consortium consisting of TÁRKI Social Research Institute Inc., ELTE ITHAKA (Research Centre of Information Society and Network) and BME ITTK (Information Society and Trend Research Institute).
Based on WIP surveys TÁRKI monitored the eEurope+ and eEurope2005 household indicators for the Hungarian Government since 2001. The statistical data provided by TÁRKI are also used by Eurostat. Aside from monitoring studies TÁRKI acted as consultant to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in the preparation of Hungarian Information Society Strategy in 2003.
International Social Survey Programme - ISSPTÁRKI has been involved in an international comparative programme (International Social Survey Programme, ISSP) since 1986. As part of this research, a questionnaire (designed to take about half an hour to complete) is translated word for word. The survey was originally carried out in five or six countries, but latterly more than 40 countries have participated, including European countries, the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, Israel, South Africa and some Latin American countries. The ISSP's topics change from year to year, but essentially it compares international public opinions and attitudes. So far TÁRKI has carried out research into topics such as social relationships, social inequalities, women and the family, attitudes to work, unemployment, religiousness, protection of the environment and national identity.
The European Social Survey (ESS).The ESS is a piece of international comparative research, which has as its goal the monitoring of the countries of Europe in the dimensions of sociology and political science. TÁRKI, in collaboration with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, has been responsible for the national survey in Hungary since 2002.
Hungarian Household Panel StudyThe Hungarian Household Panel Study was a joint research project mounted by TÁRKI, the Budapest University of Economics, the Central Statistical Office, the National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) and several other Hungarian institutions. In the course of the project, a nationwide sample of 2,600 households was surveyed on a yearly basis between 1991 and 1997. The research focused on changes in the dynamics of the labour market, income inequalities, the life prospects of the various strata of the population, and the financial and economic strategies of households. Papers based on the survey are widely accessible in TÁRKI publications, such as the Social Report or the HHP Working Papers.
TÁRKI Household Monitor SurveyIn terms of its research topics, the Household Monitor is a continuation of the Hungarian Household Panel, but without its longitudinal aspect. Its purpose is to provide a reliable assessment of the changes in the stratification of society and in social inequality. The survey is focused primarily on issues concerning the labour market and income, consumer attitudes, savings, economic expectations and economic behaviour, though changing social relations are also included among the topics of the survey. The survey is supported by several government and state institutions, as well as by private institutions through research commissions. Encompassing up to 2,000 households, the survey is normally conducted in late spring, and each year a volume containing the results is published and made available to the general public. Household Monitor data are widely used by international organisations, as well as by the Hungarian government to survey the level of poverty and inequality in Hungarian society.
The latest results - from the 2005 survey - were presented at a press conference, where Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány delivered a speech on social trends and the significance of social research.
Preparation of National Development PlansTÁRKI is involved in different phases of the preparation of National Development Plans, and, in a wider context, in analysing and monitoring EU accession. In 2003, in a joint project with two other economic research institutes, a paper was prepared on the short-term economic and social consequences for Hungary of EU enlargement. At a later stage, different development scenarios were drawn up and their social impact projected from the standpoint of social stratification, social exclusion, etc. Institutional aspects were also investigated, with special emphasis being placed on education and the labour market. TÁRKI is currently involved in a National Development Office project aimed at providing a solid methodological foundation on which to analyse the social impact of development policy.
Visit National Development Office site.
Microsimultion modellingThe first wave of microsimulation development at TÁRKI was carried out in 1995. Since then, model-building and IT development have been performed on a contractual basis, at the request of the Ministry of Finance. For the most recent wave, the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Family joined in, too. After statistical matching to anonymised microdata from tax records (bought from the tax authorities) and to consumption records (purchased from the Central Statistical Office), the Monitor database is incorporated into the TÁRSZIM microsimulation model. The model is used by the government for ex ante impact analyses of planned tax and benefit measures.
Generational accountingTÁRKI has conducted several generational accounting exercises, the most recent of which produced a time series of intergenerational balances for Hungary for each year between 1992 and 2001. That is to say, the same calculation was performed on the budget of the general government - applying the same set of assumptions on tax incidence, the breakdown of household consumption by individual household members, and other relevant methodological issues - in order to get truly comparable results. The time series reveal a strong political business cycle of public spending.
R. I. Gál, et al. 2005. "Generational accounts in Hungary, 1992-2001" is downloadable from the Ministry of Finace'a website.
Election StudySince 1996, TÁRKI has regularly conducted nationwide surveys on electoral behaviour.
Research topics have included:
- party preferences
- popularity of politicians
- satisfaction with democracy
- evaluation of the performance of government and Prime Minister
- evaluation of the performance of the opposition
- trust in political institutions
- left-and right identification