The Welfare State as Piggy Bank: Information, Risk, Uncertainty, and the Role of the State
AbstractOf the many functions of the welfare state, two are particularly prominent: the 'Robin Hood' function - the provision of poverty relief, the redistribution of income and wealth, and the reduction of social exclusion; and the 'piggy bank' function - ensuring mechanisms for insurance and for redistribution over the life cycle. The piggy-bank function, unlike the redistributive purpose of the welfare state, has received relatively little attention, and is not widely understood. This book redresses the balance. Nicholas Barr's central contention is that---contrary to popular opinion---the welfare state exists for reasons additional to poverty relief. These reasons - encapsulated by the piggy-bank function - arise out of pervasive problems of imperfect information, risk, and uncertainty. Even if all poverty and social exclusion could be eradicated, people would still need to insure themselves and to redistribute over the life cycle. As a result, Barr argues, the welfare state is here to stay, since twenty-first century developments do nothing to undermine these reasons. He also explores ways in which the welfare state can and will adapt to economic and social change, including specific, and sometimes novel, solutions. The analysis in "The Welfare State as Piggy Bank" is international, applying to advanced industrial countries, as well as addressing post-communist countries, and touching upon middle-income developing countries. Barr's approach is contemporary and forward-thinking. His discussion ranges over a number of topics of central relevance to life in the twenty-first century, including genetic screening and its impact on insurance; the convergence of private and social insurance; how to finance long-term care; pension reform in the light of fluid family structures and a mobile workforce; loans for financing investment in human capital; and new ways of involving private finance in tertiary education. Available in OSO: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/economicsfinance/0199246599/toc.html
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Bibliographic InfoThis book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780199246595 and published in 2001.
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- Barr, Nicholas, 2002. "Reforming pensions : myths, truths, and policy choices," Open Access publications from London School of Economics and Political Science http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/, London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Feduzi, Alberto & Runde, Jochen, 2011. "The uncertain foundations of the welfare state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 613-627.
- repec:aia:ginidp:dp53 is not listed on IDEAS
- Nicholas Barr & Alison Johnston, 2010. "Interest Subsidies on Student Loans: A Better Class of Drain," CEE Discussion Papers 0114, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
- Gordon, Myron J., 2005. "Growth, uncertainty and the Third World in the rise and fall of capitalism," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 153-177, April.
- Maria Racionero & Elena Del Rey, 2006.
"Financing schemes for higher education,"
ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics
2006-460, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
- Andersen, Torben M., 2004. "Challenges to the Scandinavian welfare model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 743-754, September.
- Verbist, G. (Gerlinde) & Matsaganis, M. (Manos), 2012. "GINI DP 53: The Redistributive Capacity of Services in the EU," GINI Discussion Papers 53, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
- O Debande & Vincent Vandenberghe, 2007. "Refinancing Europe’s Higher Education through Deferred and Income-Contingent Fees: An empirical assessment using Belgian, German and UK data," CASE Papers case124, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
- Vodopivec, Milan, 2004. "A Simulation of an Income Contingent Tuition Scheme in a Transition Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 1247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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