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Are public and private social expenditures complementary?

  • Caminada, Koen
  • Goudswaard, Kees

Most analyses of social protection are focussed on public arrangements. However, social effort is not restricted to the public domain; all kinds of private arrangements can be substitutes to public programs. OECD-data indicate that accounting for private social benefits and the impact of the tax system on social expenditure has an equalising effect on levels of social effort across a number of countries. This suggests complementarity between public and private social expenditures. Changes in the public/private mix in social protection will, however, have distributional effects. We expect that private schemes will generate less income redistribution than public programs. In this paper we will perform an empirical analysis. Using comparative international data we analyse whether there is a relationship between public and private social expenditures, and the distribution of income. We find a negative relationship between net public social expenditures and income inequality, but a positive relationship between net private social expenditures and income inequality across countries. In fact, when we incorporate private social security expenditures, the impact of total social expenditure on the income distribution becomes statistically trivial. We conclude that changes in the public/private mix in the provision of social protection may affect the redistributive impact of the welfare state.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 20179.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20179
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  1. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  3. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Income: Evidence and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 3-18, 02.
  4. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
  5. Gottschalk, Peter & Smeeding, Timothy M., 2000. "Empirical evidence on income inequality in industrialized countries," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 261-307 Elsevier.
  6. Cornelisse, Peter & Goudswaard, Kees, 2001. "On the convergence of social protection systems in the European Union," MPRA Paper 21297, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Gouyette, Claudine & Pestieau, Pierre, 1999. "Efficiency of the Welfare State," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 537-53.
  8. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2001. "International trends in income inequality and social policy," MPRA Paper 20181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Willem Adema, 2001. "Net Social Expenditure: 2nd Edition," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
  10. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrea Brandolini, 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 379, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  11. Champernowne, D G, 1974. "A Comparison of Measures of Inequality of Income Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 787-816, December.
  12. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
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