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Cultural Transmission of Work-Welfare Attitudes and the Intergenerational Correlation in Welfare Receipt

  • Juan Baron
  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Nisvan Erkal

This paper considers the potential for the cultural transmission of attitudes toward work, welfare, and individual responsibility to explain the intergenerational correlation in welfare receipt. Specifically, we investigate whether 18-year olds’ views about social benefits and the drivers of social inequality depend on their families’ welfare histories. We begin by incorporating welfare receipt into a theoretical model of the cultural transmission of work-welfare attitudes across generations. Consistent with the predictions of our model, we find that young people’s attitudes towards work and welfare are shaped by socialization within their families. Young people are more likely to oppose generous social benefits and adopt an internal view of social inequality if their mothers support these views, if their mothers were employed while they were growing up, and if their families never received welfare. These results are consistent with —though do not definitively establish— the existence of an intergenerational welfare culture.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP594.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 594.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:594
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  1. Peter Gottschalk, 1992. "The intergenerational transmission of welfare participation: Facts and possible causes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(2), pages 254-272.
  2. Peter Gottschalk, 2005. "Can work alter welfare recipients' beliefs?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 485-498.
  3. Gottschalk, Peter, 1996. "Is the correlation in welfare participation across generations spurious?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-25, December.
  4. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  5. Maurin, Eric, 2002. "The impact of parental income on early schooling transitions: A re-examination using data over three generations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 301-332, September.
  6. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20051, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. John V. Pepper, 2000. "The Intergenerational Transmission Of Welfare Receipt: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 472-488, August.
  8. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Antel, John J, 1992. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Welfare Dependency: Some Statistical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 467-73, August.
  10. Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2000. "Children's Welfare Exposure and Subsequent Development," JCPR Working Papers 130, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. Gottschalk, Peter, 1990. "AFDC Participation across Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 367-71, May.
  12. Nicolas Beaulieu & Jean-Yves Duclos & Bernard Fortin & Manon Rouleau, 2005. "Intergenerational reliance on social assistance: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 539-562, 09.
  13. George J. Borjas & Glenn T. Sueyoshi, 1997. "Ethnicity and the Intergenerational Transmission of Welfare Dependency," NBER Working Papers 6175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mark Evan Edwards & Robert Plotnick & Marieka Klawitter, 2001. "Do Attitudes and Personality Characteristics Affect Socioeconomic Outcomes? The Case of Welfare Use by Young Women," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(4), pages 817-843.
  15. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 2006. "Selective Counteroffers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 385-410, July.
  16. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "The Racial Test Score Gap and Parental Involvement in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Barón, Juan D. & Breunig, Robert & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Gorgens, Tue & Sartbayeva, Anastasia, 2008. "Does the Effect of Incentive Payments on Survey Response Rates Differ by Income Support History?," IZA Discussion Papers 3473, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
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