Long-term unemployment, unemployment benefits and social assistance: The Polish experience


This paper provides a comprehensive account of the regulations governing the systems of unemployment support and social assistance in post-communist Poland. To provide a solid foundation for a further discussion of these issues, the paper extensively characterizes the Polish labor force in terms of the prevalence and duration of unemployment. A final aspect of our empirical analysis concerned the question of what are the main sources of personal income for labor force participants, unemployed workers and long-term unemployed workers. In conclusion, we argue for a reform of the Polish systems of income support that separates the objectives of employment growth and poverty alleviation, and that improves upon the implementation of support schemes.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Björklund A, Freeman R (1995) Generating equality and eliminating poverty the Swedish way. Discussion Paper No. 228, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE, London

    Google Scholar 

  2. Boeri T (1994) Labour market flows and the persistence of unemployment in central and eastern Europe. In: OECD, Unemployment in transition countries: Transient or persistent?, OECD, Paris, pp. 13–56

    Google Scholar 

  3. Góra M, Lehmann H (1995) How divergent is regional labour market adjustment in Poland? In: Scarpetta S, Wörgötter A (eds) The regional dimension of unemployment in transition countries. OECD, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  4. Góra M, Lehmann H, Socha M, Sztanderska U (1996) Labour market policies in Poland: An assessment. In: Boeri T, Lehmann H, Wörgötter A (eds) Lessons from labour market policies in the transition countries, OECD, Paris, pp. 151–176

    Google Scholar 

  5. Lehmann H (1995) Labour market flows and the evaluation of labour market policies in Poland—1900-92. In: Lehmann H, Wadsworth J (eds) Labour force survey design. Proceedings of a Technical Workshop. Ifo-Insitut for Economic Research, Munich

    Google Scholar 

  6. Puhani PA (1996) Poland on the dole. Unemployment benefits, training, and long-term unemployment during transition. Discussion Paper 96-30, ZEW Mannheim

    Google Scholar 

  7. Puhani PA, Steiner V (1996) Public works for Poland? Active labour market policies during transition. Discussion Paper 96-01, ZEW Mannheim

    Google Scholar 

  8. Schmidt CM (1996) Cohort sizes and unemployment: Lessons for Poland. In: Lehmann H, Wadsworth J (eds) Labour markets by design? Labour market policies and creative use of household surveys in transition economies, Munich, pp. 126–154

  9. Steiner V, Kwiatkowski E (1995) The Polish labour market in transition. Discussion Paper 95-03, ZEW Mannheim

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Góra, M., Schmidt, C.M. Long-term unemployment, unemployment benefits and social assistance: The Polish experience. Empirical Economics 23, 55–85 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01205680

Download citation

Key words

  • Transition economies
  • unemployment structure
  • unemployment insurance

JEL classification

  • J64
  • J65