A comparative analysis of child maintenance schemes in five countries

Christine Skinner, Mia Hakovirta, Jacqueline Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


The aims of this special issue were twofold: to provide international research evidence of child maintenance schemes in five countries and to produce a comparative analysis of that research to show how child maintenance outcomes differ across countries. The research data were collected using a vignette technique. This set up two fictional families with specific characteristics in order to explore how child maintenance schemes across countires deal with key factors. Decision processes and payment outcomes are explored for child maintenance applicants who are, for example, lone parent families on low incomes, divorcing families on middle incomes or reconstituted cohabiting families where a new child
is born to the non-resident parent. The effects of changes in employment status and shared care arrangements are also considered for these family types. This final paper of the sepcial issue provides a comparative analysis of the vignettes to show how child maintenance outcomes differ across countries. Ultimately, the comparative analysis demonstrates that we have only scratched the surface in understanding similarities and differences internationally across child
maintenance schemes. This is partly because of the complex interaction between child maintenance schemes and social security systems, which is not always transparent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-348
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Security
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • child maintenance
  • guaranteed maintenance
  • social assistance benefits
  • vignettes
  • shared care

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