IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Economic Integration, Cultural Standardization and the Politics of Social Insurance

Listed author(s):
  • Samuel Bowles


  • Ugo Pagano


We explore cultural aspects of globalization and provide a model to illuminate some possible effects of globalization on the politics of redistribution within nations. The argument of the paper is as follows. Globalization is an extension of nationalism (not its antithesis) with regard to some aspects of culture and economic structure: it promotes cultural standardization and economic integration across national boundaries. But unlike nationalism, globalization does this without providing either the international cultural solidarity or governmental institutions capable of supporting egalitarian redistribution and insurance on a global scale, while weakening the nationbased institutions for the same. In this respect a globalized world may recreate the social structure of the archetypal agrarian empire: a dominant English-speaking class of cosmopolitans presiding over a heterogeneous and provincial underclass with little solidarity across the language groups and weak nationally-based instruments of social insurance and egalitarian redistribution. The politics of social insurance may thus increasingly pit the cosmopolitans against the provincials (not capital against labor, or even the high earners against the low earners, as many of the cosmopolitans are far from rich.) The result need not be institutional convergence to a world of uniformly minimalist welfare states, however, for the process of specialization induced by greater integration may support distinct institutional arrangements appropriate to each economy’s divergent product mixes. Countries specializing in goods characterized by volatile demand or requiring high levels of specific skills may be induced by globalization to strengthen their systems of social protection.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 408.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 2003
Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:408
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Piazza S.Francesco,7 - 53100 Siena

Phone: (39)(0577)232620
Fax: (39)(0577)232661
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:408. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fabrizio Becatti)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.