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Risks in the labor market and social insurance preferences: Germany and the USA

  • Anil Duman
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to attempt to look at the link between labor market risks and social insurance demands by taking occupational unemployment rates, and specificity of skills into account. Design/methodology/approach – Occupational unemployment rate is treated as an estimate of labor market risk in addition to human capital investment. Then, the variations in Germany and the USA – with diverse labor markets and a considerable difference in terms of social insurance support – are examined. Findings – The results suggest that occupational unemployment rate is explanatory for the demands for social insurance along with income. Practical implications – Conclusions reached in the paper aim to contribute to the understanding of the political support for social insurance and hence provide tools for the design of such insurance mechanisms. Originality/value – Contrary to the widespread association between the type of human capital and social insurance preferences in the literature, the paper argues that the cross-country variations can be explained by occupational unemployment rates.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 150-164

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:37:y:2010:i:2:p:150-164
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    1. Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Unequal Societies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Arnaud Lefranc, 2003. "Labor Market Dynamics and Wage Losses of Displaced Workers in France and the United States," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-614, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1995. " A Theory of the Welfare State," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 495-526, December.
    5. Boeri, Tito & Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2003. "Protecting Against Labour Market Risk: Employment Protection or Unemployment Benefits?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3990, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Saint-Paul, G., 1996. "Voting for Jobs: Policy Persistence and Unemployment," DELTA Working Papers 96-02, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    7. Robin Boadway & Manuel Leite-Monteiro & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau, 2002. "Social Insurance and Redistribution," Working Papers 1004, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    8. Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "On the size of U.S. government: political economy in the neoclassical growth model," Staff Report 234, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
    10. Wright, Randall, 1986. "The redistributive roles of unemployment insurance and the dynamics of voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 377-399, December.
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