Category Archives: Research

Back and Forth: Commuting for Work in Israel

Executive Summary

The subject of commuting has attracted more and more public attention in Israel in recent years as road congestion levels continue to rise with the increasing number of commuters. Over the last 30 years, the number of employed persons working outside their residential area has risen from 42% to 54% (as of 2016) among Israelis of working age (25-64). The main mode of commuting is by private car and the number of rides has grown faster than road expansion – creating the traffic jams that have become all too familiar.

Commuting distance, time, and mode of transportation

Most trips to work are short. Three out of every four workers aged 25-64 travel 20 kilometers or less to reach their workplace, mostly in private vehicles (for 2014-2016). About 60% of workers travel for no more than half an hour, 30% between half an hour and an hour, and about 10% travel for over an hour in each direction. Regarding the choice in mode of transportation – 62% commute to work by car (including shared rides) and only 17% commute by public transportation. 10% commute by bicycle or by foot and 8% commute by work-organized transportation.

There are large differences in commuting patterns in different parts of the country. For example, in both Jerusalem and Petah Tikva many commuters travel between half an hour and an hour, but in Jerusalem (where 91% of residents work within the city) this seems to be due to the extensive use of public transportation and large city size while, in Petah Tikva, a higher percentage use a private vehicle and commute distances of up to 20 kilometers, indicating that the travel time is a result of traffic congestion. In contrast, Tel Aviv has a high rate (68%) of workers with short commute times, and the city is also characterized by a high percentage of commuting by foot or bicycle.

Distribution of workers by length of commute ENG

The choice among modes of transportation for commuting is influenced by various economic, social, and geographic factors. Among Arab Israelis living in Arab localities, the infrequent use of public transportation is notable, stemming from a low supply due to the lack of adequate public transportation infrastructure. The topography of some localities creates natural constraints that impede mobility as well. This is evident from responses on satisfaction surveys. A high percentage of residents of Arab Israeli localities reported low levels of satisfaction with the state of the roads in their area while Arab Israelis living in localities with a Jewish majority and Jewish residents outside of Jerusalem reported higher levels of satisfaction. Among those who use public transportation, 82% of Jews are satisfied with the location of the nearest bus stop to their home, compared to only 63% of Arab Israelis.

Resident satisfaction with roads ENG

Among both Jews and Arab Israelis, a large proportion of workers in the manufacturing industry commute by work-organized transportation, a mode of transportation also commonly used by Arab Israeli men in the construction industry.

Within the Jewish population, there is widespread use of public transportation among Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and new immigrants – especially women – in both large and small localities.

Commuting, migration and housing

Commuting should allow workers to live in the right place for them at the right price and to work in a place that suits them. The academic literature on commuting suggests the existence of a trade-off between the journey to work and housing prices; that is, the inconvenience for households living farther from employment hubs should be “compensated” by lower housing prices.

In an analysis of the commuting distances and housing prices among the Jewish localities in the “Gedera-Hadera” area (the Central region of Israel), the data show that those living in localities closer to central employment areas do indeed pay on average a higher price for housing, while workers who are forced to travel longer distances receive “compensation” in the form of cheaper housing prices.

Distance to workplace and housing prices ENG

The relatively short distances between localities in the Gedera-Hadera area may encourage choosing longer commutes over moving between residential areas.

More generally, residents tend to prefer to remain in the living environment familiar to them. The internal migration rate between localities and within them in Israel stands at about 7% of the total population in recent years, and about 60% of changes in address were recorded within the same locality.

In terms of moving across regions, the data seem to reflect the limited ability of low housing prices in the periphery to attract residents away from the Central region, where there are a number of socioeconomic advantages (e.g., proximity to employment, cultural centers, and leisure areas).

Arab Israeli women: geography, commuting and employment

While the employment rate of Arab Israeli women has risen in recent years, further increasing their labor force participation rate is an important challenge facing policymakers.

Over 70% of employed Arab Israeli women live either in the North or the Triangle (Hadera and the Central region) areas. About a third of the employed women from these regions work outside their residential area.

Of those who commute from their residential area, women in the Triangle area are more likely to commute to Jewish localities for work than women in the North. Also, the commuting distance among women from the Triangle is greater than among women from the North. In general, the North is characterized by more limited and less diversified employment opportunities and big employment hubs like Haifa are a considerable distance from Arab Israeli localities. However, for women from the Triangle, their relative geographic proximity to the Center of the country, characterized by more employment opportunities, increases their “commuting tolerance.” Their willingness to travel farther distances may be due to a combination of two push and pull factors: a long commute that is still considered reasonable due to increased employment opportunities, or a shortage of employment in the Triangle area, which forces many women to seek work farther from home.

Employment rates of Arab Israeli women in mixed localities (66%) are higher than in the Northern and Triangle regions (about 33%) but lower than those among Jewish women, indicating that, beyond the substantial geographic barriers, there are additional obstacles that affect the employment patterns of Arab Israeli women, such as mastery of Hebrew and English and social norms.


Division of Labor: Wage Gaps between Women and Men in Israel

Wage gaps between women and men in Israel have narrowed over the years, but are still large. A new Taub Center study reveals that the most substantial factor behind the disparity is the fact that, on average, women work fewer hours than men, but another key factor is that women are more likely to be employed in lower-wage occupations and industries.

The wage gap between women and men in Israel’s labor market ranges from 32% to 42% (depending on the calculation method used). This difference has been studied extensively, and opinions differ as to its source; some attribute it to discrimination against women, while others maintain that the gap is rooted in essential differences between the genders and in their differing occupational preferences. A study by Taub Center Researcher Hadas Fuchs that was recently published in the Taub Center’s State of the Nation Report 2016, sought to assess the status of women in the labor market, focusing on the causes of the male-female wage gap. Fuchs assessed the gap in light of employees’ personal and demographic characteristics, including number of working hours, education level, and the occupations and industries in which the employees worked. The assessment included data from 2010-2011.

Fuchs’ calculations indicate that the most important factor behind the gender wage gap is the number of work hours, with 57% of the gap being due to women’s smaller position scope (i.e., less than full-time employment) (see Figure 1). In 2015, 34% of working women aged 25-54 were employed part-time, versus 17% of men; even among those with full-time jobs, women worked fewer hours.

Article Graph 1 final

The second most important cause, which is responsible for 14% of the wage gap, is the difference between the occupations and industries in which men and women work. Men work in occupations where the average wage tends to be higher (as shall be seen below). By contrast, the number of years of schooling variable reduces the gap by 5%, as on average, women are better-educated than men – and a higher education level raises the average wage.

Overall, more than two-thirds of the wage gaps arise from the variables that Fuchs assessed, among them one’s years of experience, position scope, family status, and education.  The portion of the gap that is not explained by these variables could  reflect discrimination, but it might also be due to attributes that could not be measured in this study, such as personal abilities, the exact job held by a given employee, or more precise detail regarding occupation. So that the “personal ability” component (which is presumably a major determinant of wage) could be taken into account, Fuchs used a special Central Bureau of Statistics database, which, in addition to the data shown above, also included matriculation and psychometric exam scores. These exams reflect, to a certain degree, the requirements of the labor market, and scores on these exams can thus serve as a good indicator of an employee’s “quality” in terms of remuneration for their work. This database contains information for those who were ages 29-31 in 2008.

One of the most interesting findings obtained through this estimation is that the occupation/industry component has a greater impact on wage gaps [in the 29-31 age group] than in all age groups taken together – a fact that underscores the importance of occupational choice in determining women’s future wages. Among those with academic degrees, this component had the greatest impact on the wage gap, explaining over half of the disparity (as seen in Figure 2).

Differences in matriculation and psychometric exam scores increase the wage gap; their joint contribution to the explained gap was 13%. Fuchs explains this by noting that, although women have a higher matriculation average than do men, five units of mathematics study and the quantitative portion of the psychometric exam have relatively great influence on wage, and women tend to have lower achievements in these spheres. In this calculation, the unexplained wage gap was only 6%.

Article Graph 2 final (update)


In light of the major role of mathematics attainment in determining wage, the study examined the gender gaps in this sphere at various stages along the lifecycle. The data indicate that women’s lower achievements in math are discernible from a young age; among Jewish Israelis, girls’ achievements on the Grade 5 GEMS exams in mathematics are lower than those of boys (though girls outperform boys in English), while on the PISA tests their achievements are lower in math and higher in reading. In secondary school fewer girls study math at the 5-unit matriculation level, and their average score is lower.

At the academic level, in all degree programs, women account for at least half (and often more than half) of students, but they tend to study therapy and education-related fields.  In contrast, men comprise the majority in the mathematical and scientific disciplines, which are associated with higher average salaries. In 2014, for example, only 27% of students in mathematics, statistics and computer science were women.

Gender polarization continues into the labor market, where a high percentage of women are still employed in education and a very low percentage in high-tech occupations. Even among computer science graduates, a relatively high percentage of women do not go on to work in this field. The reason for this may be that women enter occupations, such as education, that provide them with flexible working hours and part-time employment options, and avoid occupations that are regarded as demanding in terms of the number of work hours, such as technology, science and finance (as shown by Figure 3).


Given these findings, it appears that in order to reduce wage gaps, it is important to raise awareness of the impact that choice of academic field has on wage. Additionally, the contribution of mathematical ability to wage, and women’s lower attainments in math-related fields from an early age, highlight the need to persevere with programs that encourage women to study scientific subjects at a high level.

The question of why women do not enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, which are considered prestigious and known to offer high salaries, should also be examined in greater depth. Fuchs notes that the reason for this may be that women are still thought to be their children’s primary caregivers, and to bear most of the responsibility for housework. If this is indeed the reason, then one should consider the possibility of offering work-schedule flexibility and shorter work days to both men and women, which would enable suitable women who so desire to enter these fields, fulfill their potential and reduce overall gender wage inequality.


The Young Unemployed and Unemployment Benefits in Israel

Unemployment insurance is intended to help those who are temporarily unemployed to maintain their standard of living while encouraging them to return to the labor market. The rate of young adults under the age of 30 who receive unemployment benefits in Israel is about 16%. The past few years have witnessed a number of changes to the unemployment benefits program, some of which have worked against the younger age groups. Most recently, there has been a proposal that would make entitlement even more difficult for younger adults who find themselves unemployed, due to a tightening of the qualifying period requirement (the amount of time one must work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits). In the proposal, the qualifying period for a young adult under 30 would be 24 months of employment out of the 30 months preceding unemployment; the qualifying period for an individual between the ages of 30 and 35 would be 18 months out of the preceding 24 months. This comes in place of the current qualifying period requirement which is the same for all ages and requires an employment period of 12 months within the 18 months preceding unemployment.

This policy brief discusses the relevant Israeli law and the changes that have been proposed with respect to younger unemployed people, and compares them to the provisions for older people and to accepted practice in other social welfare countries. Our findings show that while the envisioned change would undoubtedly bring about a budgetary savings, it would nevertheless alter the entitlement conditions for young adults in Israel in an unprecedented way relative to other social welfare countries. What is more, the change would widen existing disparities between older and younger Israeli adults in terms of their entitlement to unemployment benefits. It is estimated that if this change is adopted it will affect about 15% of the young and unemployed (about 11,000 people), and that the impact on women, those with families, and Arab Israelis will be particularly severe. In light of this, the proposal would undoubtedly disrupt, to a substantial degree, the desired balance between the functions and aims of unemployment insurance.

Women and Parents in the Labor Market – Israel and the OECD

Any substantial discussion about the economic situation of women in Israel – particularly with regard to labor market outcomes – must be placed in the context of the unique demographic trends in the country. At 3.0 children per woman in 2014, as shown in Figure 1, Israel has a much higher fertility rate than any other country in the OECD. In contrast to its fellow OECD countries, Israel’s fertility rate today is relatively similar to that in 1980. While other developed countries are dealing with the economic burden of a rapidly aging population and fertility rates below replacement levels, Israel does not face similar demographic challenges.

Israeli society – including its culture, geopolitical situation and governmental policies – has helped encourage both fertility and female participation in the labor market. Such policies include government funded in-vitro fertilization treatments for up to two children, job protection during pregnancy, generous wage replacement rates equal to 100% of the salary during the 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, childcare subsidies for qualifying families, universal preschool from age three and reduced working hours following the return from maternity leave (“nursing hour”) (Bowers, 2014).

Yet, in some categories, support for working mothers in Israel lags behind that provided in the OECD. This brief provides context on important trends regarding women in the labor market in Israel and provides guidance on what policies Israel would need to undertake to align with prevailing norms in the OECD in regards to parental leave and family-friendly work practices.

The digital world: computerization trends in Israel’s labor market

The modern market is dynamic, shaped by an array of influences such as technological developments, globalization, and capricious consumer preferences. While such rapid technological advances are generally a blessing, they come at a cost in the guise of a loss of existing jobs. Using a method developed by American researchers that rates occupations, on a scale from 0 to 1, by the risk that employees will be replaced by computers, Taub Center researcher Shavit Madhala-Brik mapped Israel’s labor market into low, medium and high risk occupations in a new study published in the State of the Nation Report 2015.

Madhala-Brik found that among workers between ages 25 and 64, 39% of work hours are considered at high risk; 20% at medium risk, and 41% at low risk, as shown in the first figure. This translates into roughly one million Israeli workers in this age group who are at high risk of being replaced by computers or machines. Occupations such as tailors, construction workers, bookkeepers, and clerks fall into the high risk category, as well as a number of other occupations that are characterized as repetitive or technical. Professions requiring creativity, social intelligence, and proficiency in negotiation are characteristic of low-risk occupations. As Madhala-Brik notes, these trends are not unique to Israel; countries such as the United States and Germany have 47% and 49% of work hours in high-risk occupations, respectively.

Jan Newsletter 1

Computerization is expected to particularly affect jobs held by some of Israel’s more vulnerable populations groups – specifically non-Jewish men, teens and young adults, and low-income workers. In general, a negative correlation was found between an occupation’s average wage and its likelihood of being computerized – that is, those who earn low wages tend to be at higher risk. As a result, non-Jewish men stand out as a high risk group – 57% of Muslim, Christian and Druze men are in professions at high risk of computerization. Over half of the hours worked by non-Jewish men are in manufacturing, construction, and skilled work of a similar nature. In contrast, only 35% of Jewish men work in high risk professions, while 39% of both Jewish and non-Jewish women in Israel are in such professions. Israel’s youth and the unemployed may also face challenges in this regard; a total of 60% of work hours among those aged 15-24 are in high-risk occupations. Similarly, the percent of unemployed individuals is relatively high in professions with a high likelihood of computerization, especially among unskilled workers and those in industrial and construction work, meaning that these individuals will have a difficult time finding their way back into the workforce.

In general, the education level within a profession is negatively correlated with the level of computerization risk of that occupation. Occupations that have a lower share of academic degree holders among those employed in them are more likely to be automated. As the second figure shows, this trend is consistent through most of the distribution, with two major anomalies. There is a sharp rise in degree holders among occupations at the highest risk level. This jump occurs because of jobs such as insurance agents, secretaries, accountants, and bank tellers – many of which are manned by academic degree holders, but that nonetheless are at high risk of computerization. The second anomaly is found at the opposite end of the spectrum – there is a drop in degree holders among the occupations with the lowest risk of computerization. This includes hairdressers, athletes, cosmeticians, and police officers, most of who have relatively few years of schooling. Madhala-Brik finds that while higher education certainly plays a substantial role in determining one’s risk level, it does not necessarily protect a worker from computerization, and workers with lower education are not necessarily at high risk.

Jan Newsletter 2

The replacement of people through computerization comes with an occupational upside – new opportunities in the market. Vocational training is a policy tool that can be used to address the anticipated changes in the labor market and prepare the population for new and low risk opportunities. Such programs already exist, both in the form of courses offered by the Ministry of the Economy’s Manpower Training and Development Bureau and in the form of a voucher system to subsidize participation in vocational programs. However, there is a great need to expand these services; of the half-million jobless Israelis who visit employment bureaus each year, only about 1% are referred to vocational training frameworks. There is also a need to adjust the jobs for which these programs provide training; Employment Service survey data indicate that the most common jobs the voucher programs prepare individuals for are those at high risk of computerization, such as bookkeeping and payroll controlling. Expanding vocational training programs, and adjusting them to the reality of Israel’s future labor market needs, will ensure that the population, particularly the vulnerable citizens, will have employment prospects that are secure for the long-term.

The 2008 Social Survey

As in previous years, this year’s survey included several questions that were phrased identically to those of earlier surveys; this is meant to ensure efficient monitoring of changes in public attitudes regarding issues on which it has been questioned repeatedly. Some of the questions – those touching directly on the most fundamental aspects of social confidence – constitute the basis for calculating the Taub Index of Social Confidence, an index that quantifies the Israeli public’s sense of social confidence and gives a fuller picture than that which can be obtained from responses to specific questions. An index of this kind, which can be used for comparison purposes across time periods and population groups (for each of which an index is separately calculated), expands and enriches our understanding of public attitudes and sentiments (see below).

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2008, Yaakov Kop (editor).



Government Expenditure on Social Services – 2008

The last three years were characterized by impressive economic expansion, following on the heels of a slowdown during the period 2001-2003, one to which the Israeli government itself contributed by implementing a severely restrictive fiscal policy that curbed public consumption.  This curtailment of public consumption had ramifications for various sectors of the economy.  During the following years, from mid-2003 on, there was a significant upturn as reflected in several economic indicators.  Amongst other things, there was an awakening in the labor market:  in 2002 the number of those employed grew at an annual average rate of 0.9 percent, and since then the rate rose to 3.2 percent.  At the same time the unemployment rate declined by 3.4 percentage points and 2008 is expected to end with an average unemployment rate of 6.3 percent.  Employment rates for the 25-64 age group have been trending upward since 2003, reaching 70 percent in 2007.  Wages have also been rising steadily in real terms since 2003, in both the private and public sectors.

This brisk economic activity led to a rise in tax revenues and to a consequent reduction in the deficit from a high of 5.3 percent in 2003 to one percent in 2006 and to a balanced budget in 2007, with a decline in public debt as a percentage of GDP.  Unfortunately, this improved economic situation did not bring about a social improvement.  The chapters of this year’s Report point to deficiencies in various areas of social concern and highlight the state budget’s failure to adapt to changing social needs.  The report proposes various options for improving matters on the social plane while also encouraging economic growth − with due consideration for time constraints and the difficulties posed by the global and local crises.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2008Yaakov Kop (editor).



Characteristics of the Distribution of Teachers in Schools and Affirmative Action Policy

However, this policy does not try to influence directly the placement of teachers in weaker schools and areas, despite the accepted assessment of the influence of the quality of teachers on the educational attainment of students.

This paper examines the relationship between teacher characteristics and measures of the socio-economic characteristics of schools, in order to assess the extent to which the current distribution of teachers is in line with a policy of affirmative action.

Surprisingly, no marked differences in the quality of teachers were found between schools serving different student populations. Further, teachers in schools that serve stronger populations were not found to be more “expensive” to the system. In fact, the opposite was found to be true, indicating “affirmative preference” in this aspect of the allocation process. “Thus,” the authors conclude, “the major achievement gaps that persist between schools differing in the socio-economic characteristics of their students cannot be attributed to the seniority, education level and salaries of the teachers.”

This paper is available in Hebrew only.

Protecting Mortgage Holders

Until recently, this has been a rare phenomenon in Israeli society and appropriate methods for dealing with this have not developed. Dr. Benchetrit suggests a direction for solving this problem: to insure mortgage holders, with the State’s guarantee, to protect them against foreclosure, eviction and continuing debt.

The study presented in this pamphlet is accompanied by a discussion from an expert meeting of housing specialists in Israel. Their responses point to the many facets of this issue as well as additional questions that will need a response regarding the involvement of the State in the area of housing.

This paper is available in Hebrew only.

Reducing Class Size: Budgetary and Educational Implications

In this agreement, the government committed itself to working to reduce class size to a maximum of 32 students. The research has two levels: one level examines the expected advantages and disadvantages of fulfilling the commitment. This includes a discussion of the educational advantages of small classes and in particular the ability to give students attention according to their needs, the opportunity to raise student achievement and the chance to improve the atmosphere in the schools. The second level presents the results of a simulation experiment in which the details of the resources required to fulfill this commitment are examined. The results are examined in terms of the money and manpower required at each educational level. It was found that the total costs would be somewhere between NIS 5.7 and 9.3 billion not including the one-time expenses of building and training the new teachers that will be needed. It was also estimated that some 17,000 new teachers and 7,500 classrooms will be necessary to implement the class size reduction.

This paper is available in Hebrew only.

Policy Guidelines for the Elderly in Israel

Demographic and social developments among the elderly are also presented as background for the discussion of issues of work and pension. The Long-Term Care Law is also presented as a “case study” for social policy analysis.  The implications of these subjects are presented as they relate to a view of aging in society as a “burden” or an “asset”.

This paper is available in Hebrew only.

The Equality Dimension in the Activity of the Personal Social Services

In an examination of the issue of equality in the policies and activities of the personal social services, four main dimensions should be taken into account: the availability of personal services of identical scope and quality for population groups of similar needs; equity in accessibility to services; equity in use of social services; and, equity in resource allocation.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1996, and is available upon request.

Bequething of Economic Assets – Home Ownership

It is part of a more extensive study based on a comprehensive survey, in which 1,600 people were chosen randomly and interviewed in matters of family income, family economic resources, and intergenerational debts between parents and children. This analysis focuses on the effect of parents’ economic resources and financial assistance on home ownership and home equity (a major component of economic resources) among the recipients’ generation.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1996, and is available upon request.

National Expenditure on Education and Health

The study shows the the performance of expenditure on civilian public consumption declined markedly in 1994-1995, meaning the the public did not receive its full due for the heightened burden foisted on GDP for the delivery of these services.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1996, and is available upon request.

Government Expenditure on Social Services 1994-1995

This report analyzes actual government outlays for social services in 1994 and the budget for 1995. The findings are analyzed in the context of development in the 1980s and 1990s.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1994-1995, and is available upon request.

Israel Towards the Twenty First Century – Social Report

The overarching examples of change looked at here in education, health, and income maintenance point to the emergence of new patterns in the operating environment of the social services. Systematic inspection of each of these social systems shows that in order to continue nurturing the Israeli welfare state, it will be necessary to reexamine the objectives, the goals, and the means for attaining them.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1994-1995, and is available upon request.

Government Social Expenditure 1992-1993

The various sections in this review examine developments in the Israeli economy in the early 1990s with emphasis on 1992 and the level of planned government outlays for social services as presented in the 1993 State Budget proposal. It also looks at social expenditure trends in the State Budget, and the composition of this expenditure as well as its main components of income maintenance, education and health services.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1992-1993, and is available upon request.

Demographic Changes and Social Services in Israel’s Major Cities

It is important to focus attention on the main concentrations of population, if only because most services are delivered on the local or regional level, not on the national one. This paper helps to identify existing or potential bottlenecks and weak points in the social services in Israel’s major cities.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989, and is available upon request.

Feedback in the Israeli Education System

The proposed center would provide the education system with feedback on its products and outputs. It would have other potential functions that are unrelated to product appraisal; these are discharged today by various agencies, some within the Ministry of Education and others outside it.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989, and is available upon request.

Development of Preschool Education in the Israeli Arab Sector

In view of the shortage of preschool education services, most Arab children reach formal education inadequately prepared to cope with the demands of school. Providing preschool education is also an important factor for tackling the basic problems of Arab society, some of which are connected with the transition from traditional to Western patterns. The program proposed here is based on establishing an extensive system of kindergartens, family nursery schools, and training facilities designed for the plan’s implementation.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989, and is available upon request.

Research Conditions in Israel Universities

The present study attempts to examine whether Israeli scientists do show a quantitative preference for doing their research abroad rather than in Israel, and, if this is the case, to identify the main components of this preference. The study also suggests possible ways of arresting this trend, which threatens the future of science in Israel in many ways.

This publication appeared as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989 , and is available upon request.

Basic Commodity Subsidies and Income Distribution

Subsidization of basic foodstuffs and public transport is an important element in the phalanx of systems meant to narrow income distribution disparities in Israel. Thus the cutback in subsidies aggravates inequality in the distribution of incomes.

This study reviews the development of the subsidy system and suggests alternatives to basic commodity subsidies.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989, and is available upon request.

The Jewish Agency Department of Immigration and Absorption: Options for Change 1987

This study sought to identify central or strategic issues in the operation of the Department of Immigration and Absorption, which, if properly dealt with, could lead to considerable improvements in the handling of aliya and absorption. It should be stressed that this report does not deal with special situations of “mass immigration,” but rather with aliya within the dimensions that we have known for the past 20 years.

This publication is available upon request.

Social Policy Toward Families of Working Parents with Preschool Children

The proposals are mostly built with a view not to exceed the present costs of the maternity allowance program, thus taking into account current constraints in public expenditure, while aiming at improving the relative economic situation of families of working parents at the middle and lower income levels. Some of the alternatives also offer a greater flexibility in the conditions of leave, so that families may use the leave and the attendant financial benefits at greater convenience.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

Wage Differentials in the Israeli Manufacturing Sector

This paper examines the industrial wage structure from several angles. The first is the distribution of wages in industry and its main sectors. The paper describes the highly heterogeneous structure of Israel’s industrial sectors with regard to the level and distribution of wages.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

The Cost and Allocation of Social Services, and Priorities in Social Policy

Recurrent breakdowns in the running of the health and education systems, coupled with persistent claims – voiced by many politicians – that the economic stabilization plan has hurt the economically weak more than anyone else have created the impression the the resources allocated to the social services are being substantially reduced.

Analytical discussion of the subject involves a number of the short-term as well as the long-term trends of the system as a whole and of its major constituents – income maintenance and the provision of services.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

National Expenditure for Social Services

Even relatively small sums have become the subject of difficult negotiations. It is therefore worthwhile to review national expenditures on social services in Israel from a historical perspective and compare Israel’s situation with that of other countries.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

Government Expenditure – Structure, Target Population, and Forecast of Needs

There is no doubt, however, that deliberations on the annual budget ought to be guided by multi-year considerations and anticipated long-term feasibility. Thus, predictable requirements should be examined for the next quinquennium. For certain purposes, even a more distant period, the nineties, should be considered. The findings presented here, therefore, are important not so much for their absolute values as for the trends and patterns of change they suggest for the medium and long term.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

Lessons from the Analysis of Social Expenditure

Most of this report is addressed to government activity in these fields, because of our special interest in government social policy as expressed by its pattern of resource allocation. Furthermore, the government’s financial role in social affairs is most often decisive – and, frequently, all-inclusive.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

Social Service Expenditure in 1986/87: Where Do We Go From Here?

One of the most troubling findings in the study of Israel’s social situation today may be the perceptible slack in planning and implementing deliberate measures in order to prepare our social services for the future. Reinforcing such activities may help social policy makers reach more rational decisions given the choices that are still available and may even help place Israelis’ expectations of and aspirations for a better future on firmer ground.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987, and is available upon request.

Social Services in Israel 1986-87

It draws on selected studies undertaken by the Center’s researchers, as well as deliberations with other policy experts from academia, government and Knesset, the private and not-for-profit sectors, and the trade unions. This summary also reflects the Center’s special interest in the links between economic and social policies.  Unlike earlier summaries, this one presents not only a macro-analysis of social spending for the human services and their target groups but also presents a future scenario based on the demographics of Israel’s population. It suggests that the consequences of Israel’s demographic situation must be carefully taken into account as the social policies of the nineties are in the making.

This publication is available upon request.

Israel’s Social Services 1985-86

It points to the current need for finding ways of trimming and containing public expenditure for human services by a partial transfer of the burden of funding more directly to all citizens with the current introduction of stronger redistributive measures and efficiency. Alternative and politically acceptable policies may not lead to dramatic reductions in the resources now used by Israel’s human services. However, some options can release material and non-material resources for what is now done inadequately and still must be done.

This publication is available upon request.

Fiscal Policy

It has become a major factor in the planning of wage and price policy, as well as what is known in israel as “absorbing money from the public,” during the new economic policy implementation period. Among the major policy measures measures involving taxation, direct taxes have been raised somewhat and indirect taxes slightly lowered.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

Income and Income Maintenance Policy

This discussion comes under three headings: comments on the significance of the measures used for the purpose of quantifying the impact of social policies; the rising pattern of transfer payments and the need to reconsider policy; and an examination of the “package deals,” particularly their social aspects, leading to proposals for modifications of these policies.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

National Expenditure on Education and Health – 1985

First, we expand the discussion to include expenditures on social services by all active participants in the social field in addition to the central government. In other words, we explore national expenditure, including the activity of the private and the non-profit organization sectors, which complement the government activity.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

Government Expenditure on Social Services – 1985

The centerpiece of economic policy at the time was the first so-called “package deal,” an accord between the government, the Histadrut and representatives of employers and manufacturers. The first such agreement took effect in late 1984 and lasted until early February, 1985. It aimed to defeat inflation by artificial means, reducing it to a level at which its underlying factors might be treated, and sought simultaneously to trim the balance of payments deficit.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.


Housing Policy

The discussion is initiated with a brief overview of the housing sector, including evaluation of geographic variation and cyclical fluctuations in housing construction and price. It then focuses on policy instruments and outcomes associated with recent demand-side programs for targeted, entitled populations. Finally, the paper’s concluding chapter discusses deregulation and reform of the housing finance system, including introduction of alternative mortgage instruments and development of secondary mortgage finance.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publications, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

Tax Expenditure

Such a “budget: would provide the public with detailed and systematic information as to the amount of tax relief granted to certain population groups or defined economic activities. Tax expenditure, an important instrument used by the government in its activity in the economy, is neither documented in any medium nor budgeted in any way.  The present study relates to the major tax laws, including income tax, VAT, employer’s tax, customs and indirect taxes.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

Distribution of Family Income and Taxes

This study summarizes the first stage of research and surveys the current situation and examines income and tax distribution from a perspective of the family as an integral unit. All income received by the family has accordingly been totaled as well as all taxes paid by it.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

Allocation for Services and Equity

The “family” of services in kind embraces education, health, personal services and other budget expenditures. Appraisal of consumption of services in kind proves problematic when the consumers belong to different income, age, occupation and education brackets.

Nevertheless, such an appraisal and its quantification across all social services provided by the government or other public bodies is essential for an understand of economic inequity and, of course, inequity in economic welfare.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986, and is available upon request.

The Non-Profit Sector and Volunteering

Alongside these two sectors there has been a broad and varied group of organizations operating without the aim of earning profits. The activities and nature of these non-profit organizations differ both from those of organizations in the public sector and those in the private for-profit sector.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.

Implementation of the Etzioni Commission Recommendations

It produced a series of proposals for raising academic qualifications of teachers, restricting entry of unqualified teachers into the education system, and granting teachers a substantial pay increase. Along with these, there were also recommendations for far-reaching changes in the Israeli education system, aimed at remodeling it in line with a new conception of the school as a community education center open over extended hours, rather than merely an institute of formal education.

The main part of this paper is devoted to a discussion of the policy implications of the proposals. The main problem pointed up by the study is that if the framework of government allocation to education remains unchanged, the additional expenditure required for implementing these recommendations must come at the expense of other educational programs.

An additional aspect analyzed in this work is the issue of geographic variations in teaching standards. The paper finds that the collective agreements reached following the Etzioni Commission “distributed” salary increases uniformly, even though they could have been allocated so as to constitute a greater incentive for experienced teachers to transfer from their present posts to more distant schools.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.

Integration of Assistance Programs for the Young

Israeli society accepts its obligation to extend the necessary support – the current programs designed to meet this need receive appreciable public funding. But they are nevertheless inadequate in several respects.

This study presents the advantages of a proposed Threshold Fund from which assistance should be disbursed to young people at the start of their independent life-path. The scheme calls for major changes in the mechanics of government assistance for young people, in the areas of housing, post-secondary education – both higher and vocational – and initial establishment as a self-employed breadwinner. To keep the proposed scheme within reasonable budgetary limits it is suggested that initially only discharged soldiers enjoy eligibility.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.

Social Implications of Subsidies on Necessities

As a consequence, subsidies on necessities are an efficient instrument reducing the economic burden on poor families in Israel.

This study also examines the trade-off between subsidies and transfer payments. Some people object to subsidies, as these must by their very nature aid wealthy families, as well. This line of thinking prefers the method of transfer payments, which can be channeled directly to the needy. However, this method as serious drawbacks, as well.

To sum up, it would appear that each of the two methods has its advantages and drawbacks, and that the best policy requires a proper combination of both frameworks – subsidies and direct transfer payments.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.

Government Outlays on Social Services – 1984

To understand what happened in 1983 and 1984, however, requires a larger canvas. Consequently, we are presenting the data for these years and the analysis in relation to expenditures during 1981 and 1982. The wider horizon enables us to identify trends in the allocation to the various social services.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.

Social Services in the Eighties – A Turning Point?

The deepening economic crisis has cast major doubts on the government’s ability to persist in expanding its budget faster than the national product growth rate. Under these conditions, the call for budget cutbacks, once the battle-cry of a minority of economists, has now become the slogan of a universally sanctioned national campaign. Today, the question is no longer whether to cut the budget, but by how much and where. Thus, the competition for government funds has intensified, as the different sectors scrimmage over a dwindling total volume of resources.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Outlays for Human Services 1984, and is available upon request.