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The politics of redistributive social insurance


  • Hindriks, Jean
  • De Donder, Philippe


This paper analyses the political support for a social insurance that includes elements of redistribution when there exists an imperfect private insurance alternative. Individuals differ both in their income and risk. The social insurance is compulsory and charges an income-related contribution with pooling of risks. The private insurance is voluntary and charges a contribution based on individual risks. However due to the adverse selection problem, private insurance companies provide only partial insurance. Adopting a non-expected utility model, we show that there is a general majority support for social insurance and that this support is increasing with risk aversion. We also show that a mixed insurance is politically impossible, regardless of the degree of redistribution of social insurance and the joint distribution of risk and income in the population. Lastly, we analyse how the political support for social insurance is affected by any change in its redistributive component and the possibility of using genetic tests.
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Suggested Citation

  • Hindriks, Jean & De Donder, Philippe, 2003. "The politics of redistributive social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2639-2660, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:87:y:2003:i:12:p:2639-2660

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe, DE DONDER & Jean, HINDRIKS, 2006. "Does Propitious Selection Explain why Riskier People Buy less Insurance," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006017, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    2. Robin Boadway & Manuel Leite-Monteiro & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Social Insurance and Redistribution with Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 279-298, July.
    3. De Donder, Philippe & Hindriks, Jean, 2003. "Policy-Oriented Parties and the Choice between Social and Private Insurance," IDEI Working Papers 226, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    4. De Donder, Philippe & Hindriks, Jean, 2007. "Equilibrium social insurance with policy-motivated parties," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 624-640, September.
    5. Rossignol, Stéphane, 2008. "Politics of social health insurance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 387-401, June.
    6. repec:pal:compes:v:59:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41294-017-0027-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Andreas Bergh, 2008. "Explaining the Survival of the Swedish Welfare State: Maintaining Political Support Through Incremental Change," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 32(3), pages 233-254.
    8. Mälkönen, Ville, 2009. "Financial conglomeration and monitoring incentives," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 105-123, June.
    9. Philippe Donder & Jean Hindriks, 2009. "Adverse selection, moral hazard and propitious selection," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 73-86, February.
    10. Jean Hindriks, 2001. "Public versus Private Insurance with Non-Expected Utility: A Political Economy Argument," Working Papers 439, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    11. Koch, Alexander K. & Morgenstern, Albrecht, 2005. "From Team Spirit to Jealousy: The Pitfalls of Too Much Transparency," IZA Discussion Papers 1661, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. BOADWAY, Robin & LEITE-MONTEIRO, Manuel & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2001. "Social insurance and redistribution," CORE Discussion Papers 2001041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. Giuseppe De Feo & Jean Hindriks, 2009. "Harmful competition in the insurance markets," Working Papers 0921, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    14. Sebastian Panthöfer, 2016. "Risk Selection under Public Health Insurance with Opt‐Out," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1163-1181, September.
    15. Peter Zweifel, 2006. "Auftrag und Grenzen der Sozialen Krankenversicherung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(s1), pages 5-26, May.
    16. Peter Zweifel & Friedrich Breyer, 2012. "The Economics of Social Health Insurance," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Goulão, Catarina, 2014. "Voluntary Public Health Insurance," TSE Working Papers 14-488, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    18. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:18:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. De Feo, Giuseppe & Hindriks, Jean, 2014. "Harmful competition in insurance markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 213-226.
    20. Giuseppe, DE FEO & Jean, HINDRIKS, 2005. "Efficiency of Competition in Insurance Markets with Adverse Selection," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005042, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    21. Tim Friehe, 2008. "Insurance, Pooling, and Resistance to Reform: The Case of Individual Uncertainty," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(18), pages 1-8.
    22. Catarina Goulão, 2015. "Voluntary public health insurance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 135-157, January.
    23. Gonzalez, M. & Wen, W., 2007. "The Supply of Social Insurance," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0772, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    24. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9420-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General


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