Social protection systems use a range of entitlement criteria. First-tier support typically requires contributions or past employment in many countries, while safety net benefits are granted on the basis of need. In a context of volatile and uncertain labour markets, careful and continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of income support is a key input into an evidence-based policy process. This paper proposes a novel empirical method for monitoring the accessibility and levels of safety net benefits. It focusses on minimum-income benefits (MIB) and other non-contributory transfers and relies on data on the amounts of cash support that individuals in need receive in practice. Results show that accessibility and benefit levels differ enormously across countries – for instance, in 2015/16, more than four out of five low-income workless one-person households received MIB in Australia, France and the United Kingdom, compared to only one in five in Greece, Italy and Korea, three countries that have since sought to strengthen aspects of safety-net provisions.
While income inequality in Austria is relatively low compared to many other OECD countries, social mobility lags behind. Socio-economic outcomes carry over strongly from one generation to the next: more than elsewhere, fathers’ earnings are a strong predictor of the earnings of their prime-age children. This reflects strong persistence across generations in occupational and educational outcomes, particularly for women and migrants. Relative income positions also tend to strongly persist over people’s lives, in particular at the top and bottom. Meanwhile, the middle-income group is polarising, with downward risks rising for the lower middle. Longer-term earnings trajectories (over 15 years) display marked gender differences, with women facing weaker chances of moving up and greater risks of sliding down. This paper identifies policies that promote or hamper social mobility in four domains. First, good-quality early childhood education and care can be a catalyst for upward mobility. Participation rates have significantly risen over the last decade, but still lag those in many OECD countries. Further investment is needed to improve quality and status of formal childcare. Second, tackling low educational mobility in Austria requires ensuring a successful school-to-work transition. Austria provides targeted support for those who struggle, but it could improve funding for disadvantaged schools and consider the appropriateness of 'tracking' students at such a young age. Third, reducing gender inequality in the labour market would greatly improve social mobility. This requires raising incentives for a more equal sharing of family and work responsibilities in the areas of tax policy, parental leave and family and care benefits. Fourth, the Austrian tax and benefit system provides comparatively adequate protection against income shocks. The high concentration of household wealth, combined with the absence of inheritance taxation, however implies that inequalities of opportunity remain large.
This country fact-sheet presents key figures from "Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class". This report analyses the trends of middle-income households in areas such as employment, consumption, wealth and debt, as well as perceptions and social attitudes. It also includes recommendations for protecting middle-class living standards and financial security in the face of economic challenges.
Fast population growth in the city of Vienna is largely related to international migration. Long-standing migrant communities represent half of Vienna’s population. In 2016, 50% of the inhabitants had migrant backgrounds, and since 2015, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the city has increased. Since 1971, the city has developed dedicated administrative structures and local policies for migrants. A dedicated municipal unit (MA17) oversees how departments achieve migration-sensitive standards in their respective policy fields and produces the yearly Vienna Integration and Diversity monitoring report. A good practice is 'Start Wien', a comprehensive coaching and information programme addressing newcomers (including asylum seekers) for the first two years after arrival. After that, foreign residents benefit from non-targeted measures, for instance from a programme fighting labour market exclusion of low-skilled groups. Vienna has avoided high segregation due to its large and well spread social housing. However migrants can only access it after five years of residency in the city, before which they rely on private rental market. Vienna establishes close contacts with migrant associations and NGOs at the district level and engages public consultations when formulating integration concepts. This report sheds light on how the municipality and non-state partners work together with the other levels of government for sustainable migrant and refugee integration.
The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.
Important challenges for the future of Austrian well-being arise from demographic and environmental trends. The ageing of the population calls for a fair balance between life-time pension contributions and entitlements, drawing on the recent pension reform.
Austria enjoys strong material well-being and high quality of life. Steady convergence with top GDP
per capita levels translated into decisive improvements in household disposable incomes while significant redistribution has ensured low income inequality and poverty.
Gains in female education attainment have contributed to a worldwide increase in women’s participation in the labour force, but considerable gaps remain in working hours, conditions of employment and earnings. More specific data for Austria are available in this country note.
Governments should invest more money on children in the first six years of their lives to reduce social inequality and help all children, especially the most vulnerable, have happier lives, according to the OECD’s first ever report on child well-being in its 30 member countries.