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Efficient and Inefficient Welfare States

Author

Listed:
  • Yann Algan

    (Département d'économie)

  • Pierre Cahuc

    (Department of Economics)

  • Marc Sangnier

Abstract

This paper shows that cross country differences in the generosity and the quality of the welfare state are associated with differences in the trustworthiness of their citizens. We show that generous, transparent and efficient welfare states in Scandinavian countries are based on the civicness of their citizens. In contrast, the generosity but low transparency of the Continental European welfare states survive thanks to the support of a large share of uncivic individuals who consider that it can be justifiable to misbehave with taxes and social benefits. We also explain why countries with an intermediate degree of trustworthiness of their citizens and of transparency of the government, like Anglo-Saxon countries, have small welfare states. Overall, this paper provides a rationale for the observed persistence of both efficient and inefficient welfare states, as a function of the civicness of the citizens.

Suggested Citation

  • Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Marc Sangnier, 2011. "Efficient and Inefficient Welfare States," Sciences Po publications 5445, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/dd7iu65nm8cmbffuv10399qpu
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Andrew CLARK & Emanuela D'ANGELO, 2010. "Upward Social Mobility, Well-being and;Political Preferences: Evidence from the;BHPS," Working Papers 338, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare State; Trust; Civism; Corruption;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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