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Endogenous social norms – implications for optimal welfare state programs

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Abstract

This paper investigates the implications of an endogenous social work norm for the optimal welfare state program. Assuming that individual productivity is observable, the analysis finds that restrictions on program participation, implying a larger benefit to a smaller group of recipients, may be welfare improving. However, the effect of the norm is indeterminate. The disutility of non-compliance suggests a higher benefit; the endogeneity of the norm suggests a lower benefit. Assuming that individual productivity is not observable, the analysis finds that the social norm unambiguously contributes to increased program generosity. However, for sufficiently generous policies, the norm contributes to program retrenchment.

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  • Dackehag, Margareta, 2009. "Endogenous social norms – implications for optimal welfare state programs," Working Papers 2009:17, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2009_017
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare state; Social norm; Welfare analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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