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Work Norms, Social Insurance and the Allocation of Talent

  • Corneo, Giacomo
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    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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    File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16269/1/405.pdf
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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. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    2. Giacomo Corneo, 2012. "Work Norms and the Welfare State," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 599-625, December.
    3. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot : Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," DELTA Working Papers 1999-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    4. Matteo Cervellati & Paolo Vanin, 2010. "”Thou shalt not covet ...”: Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values," Working Papers 2010.54, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Humlum, Maria Knoth & Kleinjans, Kristin J. & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2007. "An Economic Analysis of Identity and Career Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 3120, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lindbeck, Assar, 1997. "Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 370-77, May.
    8. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Miles Corak & Patrizio Piraino, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Employers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 37-68, 01.
    11. Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," Working Papers 434, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    12. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2006. "A Theory of Tolerance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746, May.
    14. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2009. "Unemployment Insurance and Cultural Transmission: Theory and Application to European Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0936, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    15. Mark Gradstein, 2009. "Work Attitudes and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-288.
    16. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2001. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 498, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    18. 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.
    19. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Symbolic Values, Occupational Choice, and Economic Development," IZA Discussion Papers 2763, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. 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).
    21. 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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