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Risks at work: the demand and supply sides of government redistribution


  • Cusack, Thomas R.
  • Iversen, Torben
  • Rehm, Philipp


To understand how the welfare state adjusts to economic shocks it is important to explain both the genesis of popular preferences and the institutional incentives of governments to respond to these preferences. This paper attempts to do both, using a general theoretical framework and detailed data at both the individual and national levels. In a first step, we focus on how risk exposure and income are related to preferences for redistribution. To test our hypotheses, we extract detailed risk exposure measures from labor force surveys and marry them to cross-national survey data. In a second step, we turn our attention to the supply side of government redistribution. Institutions, we argue, mediate governments’ reactions to redistributional demands following economic shocks. Using time-series cross-country data, we demonstrate how national training systems, electoral institutions as well as government partisanship shape government responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Cusack, Thomas R. & Iversen, Torben & Rehm, Philipp, 2005. "Risks at work: the demand and supply sides of government redistribution," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions, States, Markets SP II 2005-15, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbism:spii200515

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:taf:rrpaxx:v:5:y:2000:i:2:p:9-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Peter Lloyd & Xiao-guang Zhang, 2000. "Introduction," Chapters,in: China in the Global Economy, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:04:p:859-874_40 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rehm, Philipp, 2005. "Citizen support for the Welfare State: Determinants of preferences for income redistribution," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions, States, Markets SP II 2005-02, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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    Cited by:

    1. Leslie McCall & Lane Kenworthy, 2007. "Inequality, Public Opinion, and Redistribution," LIS Working papers 459, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Debora Di Gioacchino & Laura Sabani, 2009. "The Politics of Social Protection: Social Expenditure versus Markets' Regulation," Working Papers 116, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.

    More about this item


    Public Opinion; Preferences; Redistribution; Varieties of Capitalism; Partisanship; Unemployment; Occupations;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs


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