The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has evolved from an allocative towards a dis-tributive policy. Distributive policies aim at correcting market outcomes according to politi-cally determined objectives usually through transferring money from richer to poorer house-holds. We compare the distributional effects of CAP direct payments in EU Member States. In general, poorer households benefit more from social transfers than richer ones, whereas larger farms get more direct payments than smaller ones. Direct payments which are basically linked to the acreage of farms seem to be not an adequate tool to alleviate incomes of farm house-holds, a major objective of the CAP.