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Welfare Competition in Norway

  • Jørn Rattsø


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Jon Hernes Fiva


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Local redistribution policy creates incentives for welfare migration that may result in 'underprovision' or even a 'race to the bottom'. This paper evaluates the empirical importance of welfare competition. Our contribution is to separate between the policy decision and the actual welfare benefit payments and to introduce income distribution as a determinant of welfare policy. Utilizing spatial econometric methods we find statistical significant strategic interaction between local governments for both the welfare benefit norm decided by the local council and the expected welfare benefits of a standardized person. No robust relationship is found between inequality and welfare benefits and thus we offer no strong support for the Romer-Meltzer-Richard hypothesis. We conclude that there is a geographic pattern in welfare benefits. This does not necessarily imply underprovision, since the grant financing of the local governments may generate overall excessive public spending.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 4204.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:4204
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  1. Jan K. Brueckner, 1999. "Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 505-525, January.
  2. Easterly, William & Baqir, Reza & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Scholarly Articles 4553013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2003. "In search of yardstick competition: a spatial analysis of Italian municipality property tax setting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 199-217, September.
  4. Brown, Charles C. & Oates, Wallace E., 1987. "Assistance to the poor in a federal system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 307-330, April.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  6. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Factor mobility and redistribution," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 57, pages 2529-2560 Elsevier.
  7. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  8. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
  9. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1999. "Redistribution," Working Papers 983, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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