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Informal family insurance and the design of the welfare state

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  • DiTella, Rafael
  • MacCulloch, Robert

Abstract

We study the problem of unemployment benefit provision when the family is also a provider of social insurance. As a benchmark, a simple model is presented where risksharing motives govern intra-family transfers and more generous unemployment benefits, provided by the State, crowd out family risk-sharing arrangements one-forone. The model is then extended to capture the idea that the State has an advantage vis-a-vis the family in the provision of insurance because it can tax individuals, whereas the family must rely on self-enforcing agreements. In this case, the effect of State transfers on intra-family transfers is found to be more than one-for-one. Thus, somewhat perversely, both informal transfers and total insurance transfers to the unemployed fall as the State's generosity increases. This does not imply that the optimal Welfare State is zero. Our results still hold when families are assumed to be better than the State at monitoring the job search activities of the unemployed. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn in its series ZEI Working Papers with number B 23-1999.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeiwps:b231999

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Keywords: Self-enforcing contracts; Optimal welfare generosity;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Hochguertal & Henry Ohlsson, 2000. "Inter Vivos Gifts: Compensatory or Equal Sharing?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0699, Econometric Society.
  2. Stefan Hochguertel & Henry Ohlsson, 2007. "Compensatory Inter Vivos Gifts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-074/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Tammi, Timo, 2013. "Dictator game giving and norms of redistribution: Does giving in the dictator game parallel with the supporting of income redistribution in the field?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 44-48.
  4. James Malcomson, 2010. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Economics Series Working Papers 508, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Bentolila, Samuel & Ichino, Andrea, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jonathan P Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Unemployment Insurance under Moral Hazard and Limited Commitment: Public vs Private Provision," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/20, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  7. Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Does social insurance help secure property rights?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6648, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2011. "Public versus private risk sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 920-956, May.
  9. Lucifora, Claudio & Meurs, Dominique, 2012. "Family Values, Social Needs and Preferences for Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Henderson, J. Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari, 2011. "Corruption and local democratization in Indonesia: The role of Islamic parties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 164-180, March.
  11. Heemskerk, Marieke & Norton, Anastasia & de Dehn, Lise, 2004. "Does Public Welfare Crowd Out Informal Safety Nets? Ethnographic Evidence from Rural Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 941-955, June.
  12. Carmen Aina & Fernanda Mazzotta & Lavinia Parisi, 2010. "Do Flexible Employment Contracts Change Household Income Differences in Italy?," Working Papers 129, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  13. Carmen Aina & Fernanda Mazzotta & Lavinia Parisi, 2010. "Gender Differences in Money Transfers within the Family. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 133, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  14. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1999. "Restricting the means of exchange within organizations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1007-1019, April.

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