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When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems

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Author Info

  • Vincenzo Galasso

    (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Dondena, IGIER and CEPR, Switzerland)

  • Paola Profeta

    (Econpubblica and Dondena, Università Bocconi, Italy)

Abstract

We study how the prevailing internal organization of the family affected the initial design of pension systems. Our theoretical framework predicts that, in society with weak family ties, pensions systems were introduced to act as a safety net, while in societies with strong ties they replicate the tight link between generations by providing generous benefits. Using a historical classification of family ties, we show that in societies dominated by (weak ties) absolute nuclear families (f.i. Anglo-Saxon countries), safety net pension systems emerged; and viceversa in societies dominated by strong families. These results are robust to controlling for alternative legal, religious, and political explanations. Evidence on individual data confirm these findings: US citizens whose ancestors came from countries featuring strong ties (communitarian or egalitarian nuclear) families prefer to rely on the government as a provider of old age security through generous retirement benefits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Condorcet Center for political Economy in its series Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS with number 2012-04-ccr.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2012-04-ccr

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Keywords: culture; family ties; pension design;

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References

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  1. Galasso, Vincenzo & Gatti, Roberta & Profeta, Paola, 2008. "Investing for the Old Age: Pensions, Children and Savings," CEPR Discussion Papers 6825, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2004. "Lessons for an ageing society: the political sustainability of social security systems," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 63-115, 04.
  3. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Thomas F. Cooley & Nezih Guner, 2007. "The Farm, the City, and the Emergence of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 12854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Vincenzo Galasso, 2006. "The Political Future of Social Security in Aging Societies," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262072734, December.
  5. Pinotti Paolo, 2009. "Financial Development and Pay-As-You-Go Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-21, March.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "The power of the family," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 93-125, June.
  7. Koethenbuerger, Marko & Poutvaara, Panu & Profeta, Paola, 2008. "Why are more redistributive social security systems smaller? A median voter approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19459, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Paola Giuliano, UCLA, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," Working Papers 2010.56, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Amir N. Licht & Chanan Goldschmidt & Shalom H. Schwartz, 2003. "Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-605, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Lindert Peter H., 1994. "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-37, January.
  11. Gilles Duranton & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Richard Sandall, 2008. "Family Types and the Persistence of Regional Disparities in Europe," SERC Discussion Papers 0009, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  12. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work and Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. repec:pdn:wpaper:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Disney, Richard, 2007. "Population ageing and the size of the welfare state: Is there a puzzle to explain?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 542-553, June.
  15. David M. Cutler & Richard Johnson, 2004. "The Birth and Growth of the Social Insurance State: Explaining Old Age and Medical Insurance Across Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 87-121, 07.
  16. Cutler, David & Johnson, Richard, 2004. "The Birth and Growth of the Social Insurance State: Explaining Old-Age and Medical Insurance Across Countries," Scholarly Articles 2643658, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Paola Profeta, 2007. "The Redistributive Design of Social Security Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 686-712, 04.
  18. repec:crr:crrwps:2004-07 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2012. "Women, Medieval Commerce, and the Education Gender Gap," CHILD Working Papers Series 10, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2013. "Culture and Institutions," NBER Working Papers 19750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2013. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Working Paper Series 4460, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Barnett, Richard C. & Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Puhakka, Mikko, 2012. "Private versus public old-age security," Staff General Research Papers 35442, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2014. "Family Ties," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 177-215 Elsevier.
  6. repec:mod:depeco:0007 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2013. "From Family Culture to Welfare State Design," CHILD Working Papers Series 14, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  8. Luca Crivelli & Paola Salari, 2012. "Fiscal federalism and income redistribution through healthcare financing: An empirical analysis for the Swiss cantons," CEPRA working paper 1204, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.

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