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Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family?


  • Di Tella, R.
  • MacCulloch, R.


We analyze the relationship between the family and the Welfare State when intra-family transfers are governed by risk-sharing considerations (i.e. not by altruism). For the benchmarl case, the classic neutrality result is obtained: more generous unemployment benefits, provided by the State, crowd out family risk-sharing arrangements one-for-one. The model is extended to capture the idea that families have an advantage at monitoring the search activities of the unemployed, whereas the State has an advantage at enforcing risk-sharing contracts through taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R., 1997. "Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family?," Economics Series Working Papers 99195, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:99195

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiander, Jaakko, 1993. "Endogenous unemployment insurance in a monopoly union model when job search matters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 101-115, August.
    2. Ram, Rati, 1987. "Wagner's Hypothesis in Time-Series and Cross-section Perspectives:," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 194-204, May.
    3. Boadway, Robin W. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Unemployment insurance and redistributive taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 193-210, March.
    4. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    5. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
    6. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:72:y:1978:i:04:p:1243-1261_15 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    9. Wright, Randall, 1986. "The redistributive roles of unemployment insurance and the dynamics of voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 377-399, December.
    10. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance on Temporary Layoff Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 834-846, December.
    11. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    12. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2002. "Informal Family Insurance And The Design Of The Welfare State," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 481-503, July.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • 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


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