Session A2: Decent incomes for the poor: what can be learned from reference budgets?


Over the past few years, the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy has undertaken two major efforts for developing a methodology for constructing reference budgets that are as much as possible comparable across countries. Reference budgets are priced baskets of goods and services, that represent the minimum necessary resources for adequate social participation. In collaboration with dedicated country teams, within the ImPRovE project reference budgets have been constructed for Antwerp, Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Helsinki and Milan. The method has been presented in an ImPRovE working paper, and the results were published in the European Journal of Social Security, for which the team was awarded the Intersentia/FISS Best Paper Prize.

In a separate project financed by the European Commission, the EU Reference Budgets Network was set up to carry out a pilot project on comparable reference budgets in the EU. This resulted in three reports:

In this session, we reflect upon the results achieved so far, the use of reference budgets in practice and the way to move forward.

  • Lead Papers:
    •  Peter Saunders

Reflections on the Development and Application of Reference Budgets: An Australian Perspective

    •  Jonathan Bradshaw 

The Policy Relevance of Reference Budgets


  • Additional presentations: Tim Goedemé, Bérénice Storms, Tess Penne & Karel Van den Bosch


  • Convenor: Bérénice Storms (Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy)