Australia has the most “target efficient” system of social security benefits of any OECD country. For each dollar of spending on benefits our system reduces income inequality by about 50 per cent more than the United States, Denmark or Norway, twice as much as Korea, two and a half times as much as Japan or Italy, and three times as much as France.
Other countries that are similar to Australia in this regard include New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and also Denmark and Finland. In fact, nearly all of the high-spending Scandinavian welfare states target to the poor more than does the United States.
On related themes, see the new Lane Kenworthy book Progress for the Poor.