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Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State


  • Lindbeck, Assar

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Nyberg, Sten

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Weibull, Jörgen W.

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))


This paper analyzes the interplay between social norms and economic incentives in the context of work decisions in the modern welfare state. We assume that to live off one's own work is a social norm, and that the larger the population fraction adhering to this norm, the more intensely it is felt by the individual. Individuals face two choices, one economic, whether to work or live off public transfers, and one political, how large the transfer should be. The model highlights certain factors determining the size of the welfare state.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0476

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    2. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
    3. Sundén, David & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "A Note on Social Norms and Transfers," Working Paper Series 478, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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    More about this item


    Welfare Economics; Decision Making; Incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


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