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Dignity and the Burden of the Welfare State

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Abstract

The burden of the welfare state may be analysed from an economic as well as a more normative perspective. This paper attempts to do both things. By the use of the case of Sweden the expansion and the costs of the welfare state is described, partly in international comparison, and explained, largely in terms of unintended consequences. Special attention is given to the effects of taxes. Next, the concept of dignity is explicated and used to evaluate the Swedish welfare state. The overall conclusion is that the burden of the welfare state is high indeed, both in economic terms and from the perspective of human dignity. Consequently, if we want to promote economic efficiency, growth and dignity the size of the state should be radically decreased.

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  • Karlson, Nils, 2004. "Dignity and the Burden of the Welfare State," Ratio Working Papers 34, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0034
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    File URL: http://www.ratio.se/pdf/wp/nk_dignity.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
    2. Baltagi, Badi H & Griffin, James M, 1988. "A General Index of Technical Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 20-41, February.
    3. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
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    Keywords

    welfare state; taxes; efficiency; welfare; dignity;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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