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Work Norms, Social Insurance and the Allocation of Talent

  • Corneo, Giacomo

This paper challanges the view that weak work norms in generous welfare states makes them economically unsustainable. I develop a dynamic model of family-transmitted values that has a laissez-faire equilibrium with strong work norms coexisting with a social-insurance equilibrium with weak work norms. While the former has better incentives, the latter induces more intergenerational occupational mobility which improves the allocation of talent and fuels growth. Strong work norms arise as a defensive strategy of parents that aims at perpetuating their occupation along family lines. I present evidence from microdata showing that generous social insurance correlates with high intergenerational occupational mobility and that more mobile individuals endorse weaker work norms.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 405.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:405
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  1. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2007. "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," NBER Working Papers 12917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2009. "A theory of tolerance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 691-702, June.
  3. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Symbolic Values, Occupational Choice, and Economic Development," IZA Discussion Papers 2763, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Amelie Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2004. "Occupational Choice across Generations," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 395, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten, 2001. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance," Research Papers in Economics 2001:5, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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  7. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," Scholarly Articles 4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  9. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  10. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2013. "Unemployment Insurance And Cultural Transmission: Theory And Application To European Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1320-1347, December.
  11. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," Scholarly Articles 27692664, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Matteo Cervellati & Joan-Maria Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," Working Papers 434, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  13. Giacomo Corneo, 2012. "Work Norms and the Welfare State," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 599-625, December.
  14. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2005. "The Intergenerational Effect of Worker Displacement," NBER Working Papers 11587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  16. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Work norms, social insurance and the allocation of talent," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 79-92.
  17. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  18. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2009. "Civic Virtue and Labor Market Institutions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 111-45, January.
  19. Maria K. Humlum & Kristin J. Kleinjans & Helena S. Nielsen, 2012. "An Economic Analysis Of Identity And Career Choice," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 39-61, 01.
  20. Cervellati, Matteo & Vanin, Paolo, 2013. "“Thou shalt not covet”: Prohibitions, temptation and moral values," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 15-28.
  21. Dolton, P J & Makepeace, G H & Van Der Klaauw, W, 1989. "Occupational Choice and Earnings Determination: The Role of Sample Selection and Non-pecuniary Factors," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 573-94, July.
  22. Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2010. "Work values, endogenous sentiments redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 612-627, October.
  23. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-82, June.
  24. Fershtman, C. & Murphy, K.M., 1993. "Social Status, Education and Growth," Papers 8-93, Tel Aviv.
  25. Mark Gradstein, 2009. "Work Attitudes and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-288.
  26. Lindbeck, Assar, 1997. "Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior," Seminar Papers 622, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  27. Bingley, Paul & Corak, Miles & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C., 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Employers in Canada and Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 5593, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. Corak, Miles & Piraino, Patrizio, 2010. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Employers," IZA Discussion Papers 4819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  29. Jose V. Rodriguez Mora & John Hassler, 2000. "Intelligence, Social Mobility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 888-908, September.
  30. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
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