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Efficient and Inefficient Welfare States

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  • Algan, Yann
  • Cahuc, Pierre
  • Sangnier, Marc

Abstract

This paper shows that cross country differences in the generosity and the quality of the welfare state are associated with differences in the trustworthiness of their citizens. We show that generous, transparent and efficient welfare states in Scandinavian countries are based on the civicness of their citizens. In contrast, the generosity but low transparency of the Continental European welfare states survive thanks to the support of a large share of uncivic individuals who consider that it can be justifiable to misbehave with taxes and social benefits. We also explain why countries with an intermediate degree of trustworthiness of their citizens and of transparency of the government, like Anglo-Saxon countries, have small welfare states. Overall, this paper provides a rationale for the observed persistence of both efficient and inefficient welfare states, as a function of the civicness of the citizens.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8229.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8229

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Keywords: civism; corruption; trust; Welfare state;

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Alberto Alesina & Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln, 2005. "Good bye Lenin (or not?): The effect of Communism on people's preferences," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2076, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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