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Tax competition and the move from insurance to assistance

The funding of social protection has strongly evolved in Bismarckian countries : whereas social protection used to rely on social contributions, since the 1990s most of the new expenditures have been funded through taxation, leading to a more balanced mix in the structure of social protection revenue. I propose a formal model in which two social protection systems may coexist : insurance and assistance. Insurance level is set by consensus between firms and unions, whereas assistance expenditures are set by a majority vote in parliament. Social insurance can be manipulated to influence preferences in respect of assistance. It is shown how an exogenous increase in tax competition in a Bismarckian context can lead to the emergence of a mixed model : assistance increases to complement existing insurance, not to replace it. A time series cross-section analysis on 9 countries over 25 years supports the idea that a drop in corporate tax rates can trigger a shift in the tax structure of social protection funding.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 12090r.

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Length: 73 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:12090r
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