The politics of social protection: social expenditure vs market regulation
It has been argued that the notion of a European social model is misleading and that there are in fact different European social models with different features and different performances in terms of efficiency and equity. In this paper, we look at the welfare state from a political economy point of view and interpret the different regimes as possible outcomes of a political process through which heterogeneous preferences of voters are aggregated. In our model, agents differ in two respects: income and socio-economic vulnerability. Policy-makers have to decide on two policies: a proportional income tax to finance a social transfer, providing equal benefits to all citizens, and a market regulation policy which benefits only vulnerable workers, providing them with additional protection against unemployment risk. Market regulation is inefficient because it decreases aggregate resources. Individuals' heterogeneity generates a conflict over policies. We feature the political process as a two-party electoral competition in a citizen-candidate model with probabilistic voting. We show that an inefficient equilibrium exists and that this outcome is more likely as income inequality and the proportion of vulnerable workers become greater. Intuitively, greater inequality raises the level of redistributive spending desired by the poor, making, at the same time, the rich more adverse to the welfare state. In this framework, both the rich and the poor, in order to win the election and realise the fiscal gain, have an incentive to support market restrictions, in the attempt to capture the votes of the vulnerable minority, who benefit from these policies.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CIRA20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CIRA20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:23:y:2009:i:3:p:387-404. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.