Social Policy : Room for Improvement in Evaluation of Social Impact of Crisis

Article excerpt

Two years on from the start of the economic and financial crisis, there has been no overall assessment of its social consequences, note the Social Protection Committee (SPC) and the European Commission in a document published on 26 November 2010(1). This paper presents an updated assessment of member state studies on the subject and policy responses, and makes a number of recommendations.

It notes that there have been several studies on labour market deterioration. These show that unemployment continued to rise in 2010 for young people (21.4%), low-skilled workers (16.2%) and non-EU migrants (21.2%), creating strong dependence on social support systems. In Lithuania, for example, the case rate has nearly doubled.

By contrast, the effects of the crisis on mental health, for example, have been studied only in Belgium, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Similarly, while a large number of member states report medium-term fiscal consolidation measures, only a few have carried out a complete evaluation of the impact of their policies, including their distributive effects. Assessments are often limited to specific measures adopted in the framework of recovery programmes. "Since fiscal consolidation measures may further worsen the social impact of the crisis, member states should strengthen their capacity to evaluate the social impact of major policy and spending decisions," suggests the evaluation. …