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On the Political Economy of the Welfare State

  • Alvaro Forteza

There is a widespread feeling that welfare states are distorting incentives to a larger extent than what is socially optimal. In the present paper, this idea is formally analyzed with a model in which a benevolent government seeks to maximize the utility of risk-averse-opportunistic agents. The government can redistribute output from the "lucky" to the "unlucky", providing insurance. Under commitment, the government optimizes before agents choose the level of effort. Aware of incentive problems, the government will typically provide incomplete insurance, in order to induce some effort above the minimum. Under discretion, the government reoptimizes after agents chose effort. Thus, it faces a pure risk-sharing problem and provides full insurance. Agents anticipate government's actions so they choose the minimum effort. Social welfare might be lower under discretion: there would be overinsurance.

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File URL: http://decon.edu.uy/publica/1994/Doc0594.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics - dECON in its series Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) with number 0594.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jul 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ude:wpaper:0594
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  1. Rosario Domingo & Héctor Pastori & Tabaré Vera, 1994. "Comportamiento estratégico de las empresas industriales frente a la apertura," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0494, Department of Economics - dECON.
  2. Ari Kokko & Ruben Tansini & Mario Zejan, 1994. "Productivity spillovers from FDI in the Uruguayan manufacturing sector," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0194, Department of Economics - dECON.
  3. María Inés Terra & Marcel Vaillant, 1994. "Cambios en el patrón de especialización regional. Viejas ventajas comparativas y nuevas economías de escala," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0894, Department of Economics - dECON.
  4. María Inés Terra & Adriana Gigliotti, 1994. "Mercosur: localización de la producción. Un modelo de geografía económica," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0794, Department of Economics - dECON.
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