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The demand for social insurance: does culture matter?

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  • Beatrix Brügger
  • Rafael Lalive
  • Andreas Steinhauer
  • Josef Zweimüller

Abstract

Can different social groups develop different demands for social insurance of risks to health and work? We study this issue across language groups in Switzerland. Language defines social groups and Swiss language groups are separated by a clear geographic border. Actual levels of social insurance are identical on either side of the within state segments of the language border. We can therefore study the role of culture in shaping the demand for social insurance. Specifically, we contrast at the language border actual voting decisions on country-wide changes to social insurance programs. Key results indicate substantially higher support for expansions of social insurance among residents of Latin-speaking (i.e. French, Italian, or Romansh) border municipalities compared to their German-speaking neighbors in adjacent municipalities. We consider three possible explanations for this finding: informal insurance, ideology, and the media. We find that informal insurance does not vary enough to explain stark differences in social insurance. However, differences in ideology and segmented media markets are potentially important explanatory factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 041.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:041

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Keywords: Culture; language; preferences for social insurance; spatial regression discontinuity;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yeter, Mustafa & Stichnoth, Holger, 2013. "Cultural influences on the fertility behaviour of first- and second-generation immigrants in Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79882, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut, 2012. "Social Insurance Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 6446, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Beatrix Eugster & Raphaël Parchet, 2011. "Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 11.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  4. Frank Betz & Christoph Carl Basten, 2012. "Beyond Work Ethic: Religion, Individual and Political Preferences," KOF Working papers 12-309, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  5. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Effects of siblings and birth order on income redistribution preferences," MPRA Paper 38658, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff, 2011. "Tastes, castes, and culture: The influence of society on preferences," ECON - Working Papers 026, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Wagner, Gert G., 2013. "Top‐Down vs. Bottom‐Up: The Long‐Term Impact of Government Ideology and Personal Experience on Values," IZA Discussion Papers 7279, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. SCHOKKAERT, Erik & TRUYTS, Tom, 2014. "Preferences for redistribution and social structure," CORE Discussion Papers 2014001, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Eugster, Beatrix, 2013. "Effects of a higher replacement rate on unemployment durations, employment, and earnings," Economics Working Paper Series 1320, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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