Benchmarking Social Security Systems: Key Learnings and Best Practices


The European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, presents the findings of the 10th chapter from the 2022–2025 edition of the benchmarking study focused on International Best Practices in Social Security Systems.

The chapter is dedicated to analysing and comparing the performance of public sectors in the realm of social security. The primary aim is to identify and reveal international best practices concerning the organisational frameworks of social security systems.

Exploring six potential best practices in social security policies and their implementations across select OECD countries, the chapter delves into areas such as social assistance, housing benefits, family benefits, healthcare, and fiscal policies targeting low-income households.

Through our analysis, we uncover the best practices that drive effective and equitable social security systems. By learning from each other, we can build stronger and more resilient social security systems.”

Key Learnings:

  • Tax credits in New Zealand stand out in terms of operational efficiency and high take-up rates.
  • Danish activation policies for social assistance recipients stand out in terms of positive labour market outcomes.
  • A general trade-off, particularly witnessed in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, is that relatively successful policies are more difficult and costly to start.
  • Another general trade-off, particularly observed in Denmark and Germany, is that targeted policies involve more administrative burden.
  • The trade-off between targeted policies and the administrative burden for the implementing organisation: to target policies at specific groups, more administrative work is necessary.
  • Changing a system to introduce a policy that decreases administrative burden increases the effectiveness of income support and increases income security, requiring rather significant reforms. These reforms are both costly and time-consuming to implement.
  • Finally, we find that more effective income support correlates with a low administrative burden for the applicant.

The full chapter is available online for download, providing an in-depth exploration of international best practices in social security systems.

In addition, you can easily access and compare data on the performance of public services in different policy areas via our interactive dashboards.

We wish to see you at our upcoming dissemination events!

Full 2023 Study