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Welfare State - The Scandinavian Model

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  • Torben M. Andersen

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)

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    Abstract

    The Scandinavian countries have achieved both a high level of living standard (measured by e.g. average income) and an egalitarian outcome (measured by e.g. income inequality) despite a very large public sector and thus a large tax burden (about 50 % of GDP). The Scandinavian cluster thus poses a challenge to the standard view on the tradeoff between efficiency and equity. How come that the Scandinavian countries have been able to achieve high equality without much sacrifice of efficiency in terms of income? This paper addresses this question with the outset in recent work stressing the insurance aspect of the welfare state. A broad interpretation of the Scandinavian welfare model in terms of social insurance or common pool aspects is given. The effects of social insurance are discussed and the potential incentive problems arising in a common pool arrangement are argued to be mitigated by a number of counteracting mechanisms. Issues in policy design and the political economy of the welfare state are also discussed.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/afn/wp/11/wp11_01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2011-01.

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    Length: 25
    Date of creation: 24 Jan 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2011-01

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    Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

    Related research

    Keywords: Risk-sharing; incentives; common-pool problems; political support;

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    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2003. "Social Norms and Welfare State Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 533-542, 04/05.
    2. Gordon Winston & David Zimmerman, 2004. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 395-424 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
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