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Redistribution and Insurance in the German Welfare State

  • Charlotte Bartels

Welfare states redistribute both between individuals reducing annual inequality and over the life-cycle insuring against income risks. But studies measuring redistribution often focus only on a one-year period. Using German SOEP data from 1984 to 2009, long-term inequality over a 20-year period is computed and then decomposed into an inter- and intra-individual component. Results show that annual inequality is higher than long-term inequality, but redistribution is also larger annually. In the long-term, the German welfare state clearly gives priority to insurance over redistribution. This gets even more pronounced at later stages of the life-cycle through the payment of social security pensions.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.390629.de/diw_sp0419.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 419.

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Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp419
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  3. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Reil-Held, Anette, 2001. " How Much Is Transfer and How Much Is Insurance in a Pay-As-You-Go System? The German Case," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(3), pages 505-24, September.
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  19. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
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  22. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & van der Burg, Hattem & Calonge, Samuel & Christiansen, Terkel & Citoni, Guido & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Mike & Gross, Lorna & Hakinnen, Unto, 1999. "Equity in the finance of health care: some further international comparisons1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 263-290, June.
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