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Work Norms and the Welfare State

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  • Giacomo Corneo

Abstract

Many European countries still provide their citizens with social insurance programs of unprecedented generosity. A cultural critique of the welfare state contends that generous social insurance has detrimental effects on work norms. This paper revisits the model of endogenous work ethic developed by Lindbeck and Nyberg (2006) and explores survey evidence on the relationship between social spending and pro-work attitudes. Both theoretical and empirical support of the cultural critique to the welfare state are found to be fragile. Furthermore, the empirical relationship between individual work ethic and individual income is shown to be non-monotonic, suggesting that weaker work norms needs not harm economic performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3665.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3665

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Related research

Keywords: welfare state; work ethic; symbolic values; social insurance;

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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
  2. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
  3. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2001. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 498, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Bjorklund, Anders, 1993. "A Comparison between Actual Distributions of Annual and Lifetime Income: Sweden 1951-89," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 377-86, December.
  5. Gradstein, Mark, 2010. "Social Insurance, Education, and Work Ethics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Heinemann, Friedrich, 2007. "Is the Welfare State Self-destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-029, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. "Hazardous Welfare-State Dynamics," Working Paper Series 428, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Martin Halla & Mario Lackner & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamics of the Welfare State: The Case of Benefit Morale -super-* ," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 55-74, 02.
  10. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  11. Corneo Giacomo, 2011. "Stakeholding as a New Development Strategy for Saudi Arabia," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, May.
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