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Social Spending Generosity and Income Inequality: A Dynamic Panel Approach

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  • Judith Niehues

Abstract

This paper explores whether more generous social spending polices in fact lead to less income inequality, or if redistributive outcomes are offset by behavioral disincentive effects. To account for the inherent endogeneity of social policies with regard to inequality levels, I apply the System GMM estimator and use the presumably random incidence of certain diseases as instruments for social spending levels. The regression results suggest that more social spending effectively reduces inequality levels. The result is robust with respect to the instrument count and different data restrictions. Looking at the structure of benefits, particularly unemployment benefits and public pensions are responsible for the inequality reducing impact. More targeted benefits, however, do not significantly reduce income inequality. Rather, their positive effect on pre-government income inequality hints at substantial disinctive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Judith Niehues, 2010. "Social Spending Generosity and Income Inequality: A Dynamic Panel Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 336, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp336
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "The impact of redistributive policies on inequality in OECD countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(17), pages 2066-2086, June.
    2. Jiří Hasman & Josef Novotný, 2015. "Cross-National Variation in Income Inequality and its Determinants: An Application of Bayesian Model Averaging on a New Standardized Inequality Data Set," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(2), pages 211-224.
    3. Kyriacou, Andreas & Muinelo-Gallo, Leonel & Roca-Sagalés, Oriol, 2015. "On the redistributive efficiency of fiscal policy," MPRA Paper 63276, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ali T. Cem Başlevent, 2014. "Social Transfers and Income Inequality in Turkey: How Informative Is the Survey of Income and Living Conditions?," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-42, September.
    5. repec:rej:journl:v:20:y:2017:i:63:p:72-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Cem Baslevent, 2016. "Social Transfers and Income Inequality in Turkey: How Important is the Gender Dimension?," Working Papers 1013, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2016.
    7. Marta C. N. Simões & Adelaide P. S. Duarte & João Sousa Andrade, 2015. "Social Spending, Inequality and Growth in Times of Austerity: Insights from Portugal," GEMF Working Papers 2015-16, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Benefits; Redistribution; Income Inequality; System GMM;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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