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Risks at work: the demand and supply sides of government redistribution


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  • Cusack, Thomas R.
  • Iversen, Torben
  • Rehm, Philipp
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    To understand how the welfare state adjusts to economic shocks it is important to explain both the genesis of popular preferences and the institutional incentives of governments to respond to these preferences. This paper attempts to do both, using a general theoretical framework and detailed data at both the individual and national levels. In a first step, we focus on how risk exposure and income are related to preferences for redistribution. To test our hypotheses, we extract detailed risk exposure measures from labor force surveys and marry them to cross-national survey data. In a second step, we turn our attention to the supply side of government redistribution. Institutions, we argue, mediate governments’ reactions to redistributional demands following economic shocks. Using time-series cross-country data, we demonstrate how national training systems, electoral institutions as well as government partisanship shape government responses. -- Um zu verstehen, wie Wohlfahrtsstaaten auf ökonomische Schocks reagieren, ist es wichtig, sowohl die Nachfrage- als auch die Angebotsseite von Umverteilung zu analysieren. Wie entstehen Umverteilungs-Präferenzen in der Bevölkerung? Welche institutionellen Anreize haben Regierungen, darauf zu reagieren? Das vorliegende Papier wendet einen generellen theoretischen Rahmen und umfangreiche Individual- und Aggregat-Daten an, um diesen Fragen nachzugehen. Dazu wird zuerst analysiert, wie Risiken im Arbeitsmarkt und das Einkommen Umverteilungs-Präferenzen von Individuen beeinflussen. Die abgeleiteten Hypothesen werden an neuen Datensätzen getestet. Diese kombinieren Informationen von Arbeitsmarkterhebungen und Umfrage-Daten für mehrere Länder und Jahre. In Sachen Angebotsseite wird argumentiert, dass unterschiedliche Regierungen auf ökonomische Schocks unterschiedlich reagieren, abhängig von Institutionen. Das Papier testet diese und andere Hypothesen auf der Aggregatsebene anhand von vergleichenden Zeitreihen. Es zeigt sich, dass die Art und Weise, wie Regierungen auf ökonomische Schocks reagieren, von Ausbildungs- und Wahlsystemen sowie der parteipolitischen Färbung der Regierung mitbestimmt werden.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions, States, Markets with number SP II 2005-15.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbism:spii200515

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    Keywords: Public Opinion; Preferences; Redistribution; Varieties of Capitalism; Partisanship; Unemployment; Occupations;

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    1. Rehm, Philipp, 2005. "Citizen support for the Welfare State: Determinants of preferences for income redistribution," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions, States, Markets SP II 2005-02, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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    Cited by:
    1. Debora Di Gioacchino & Laura Sabani, 2009. "The Politics of Social Protection: Social Expenditure versus Markets' Regulation," Working Papers, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics 116, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.


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