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Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms, and Social Insurance

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  • Assar Lindbeck
  • Sten Nyberg

Abstract

Empirically, disincentive effects on work of generous welfare state arrangements tend to appear with a substantial time lag. One explanation is that norms concerning work and benefit dependency delay such effects. We model altruistic parents' economic incentives for instilling such work norms in their children. Anticipated economic support from parents may reduce work effort, and parental altruism makes threats to withdraw such support noncredible. Instilling norms mitigates this problem. However, generous social insurance arrangements tend to weaken parents' incentives to instill such norms in their children. We find empirical support for this prediction. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 121 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1473-1503

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:4:p:1473-1503

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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Esther Hauk & Maria Sáez, 1999. "On the cultural transmission of corruption," Economics Working Papers 392, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, 06.
  4. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
  5. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  6. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  7. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
  8. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "On the Cultural Transmission of Preferences for Social Status," DELTA Working Papers 97-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Bruce, Neil & Waldman, Michael, 1990. "The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 155-65, February.
  10. Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Working Paper Series 441, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  11. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lindbeck, A., 1994. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Papers 589, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  13. Wilhelm, Mark O, 1996. "Bequest Behavior and the Effect of Heirs' Earnings: Testing the Altruistic Model of Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 874-92, September.
  14. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Delaying inter vivos transmissions under asymmetric information," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1346, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Vega-Redondo Fernando, 1993. "Competition and Culture in an Evolutionary Process of Equilibrium Selection: A Simple Example," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 618-631, October.
  16. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1986. " Intergenerational Aspects of Public Transfers, Borrowing and Debt," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 239-67.
  17. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIAU, Pierre, 1993. "Bequests as a heir : "Discipline device"," CORE Discussion Papers 1993041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  18. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
  19. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1993. "An Economist's Perspective on the Evolution of Norms," Working papers 9323, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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