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Is the Welfare State Self-destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale

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  • Heinemann, Friedrich

Abstract

Assar Lindbeck has pointed to the problem that generous welfare state institutions may in the long-run undermine those social norms which limit the costs and incentives effects of the welfare state and thus guarantee its viability. This study is the first to assess the empirical validity of Lindbeck?s notion by assessing the long-run link between the welfare state and social norms with regard to the honest take-up of government benefits. Based on the results of four waves of the World Value Surveys the determinants of benefit morale – defined as the reluctance to claim government benefits without legal entitlement – are analysed. Besides a standard list of the respondents? individual characteristics, macroeconomic indicators describing a country?s long-run welfare state and labour market history are included. The results support the empirical validity of Lindbeck?s theory: An increase of government benefits and unemployment is in the long-run associated with deteriorating welfare state ethics.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinemann, Friedrich, 2007. "Is the Welfare State Self-destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-029, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2003. "Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-194, June.
    3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    4. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    5. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2006. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms, and Social Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1473-1503.
    6. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    7. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
    8. Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2005. "Civic attitudes and the Design of Labor Market Institutions? Which Countries can Implement the Danish Flexicurity Model?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0517, CEPREMAP.
    9. Martin Halla & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2005. "Taxes and Benefits: Two Distinct Options to Cheat on the State?," Economics working papers 2005-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    10. Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. " Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 477-494, December.
    11. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    12. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-683, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giacomo Corneo, 2012. "Work Norms and the Welfare State," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 599-625, December.
    2. Adrian Chadi, 2014. "Regional unemployment and norm-induced effects on life satisfaction," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 1111-1141, May.
    3. Heinemann Friedrich, 2010. "Ansatzpunkte einer Gewissensökonomik / Approaches to the economics of consciense," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 61(1), pages 151-168, January.
    4. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Vassilis Tselios, 2012. "Welfare Regimes and the Incentives to Work and Get Educated," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 44(1), pages 125-149, January.
    5. Cullis, John & Jones, Philip & Lewis, Alan & Castiglioni, Cinzia & Lozza, Edoardo, 2015. "Do poachers make harsh gamekeepers? Attitudes to tax evasion and to benefit fraud," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 124-131.
    6. Adrian Chadi, 2012. "Employed But Still Unhappy? On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 132(1), pages 1-26.
    7. Axel Möhlmann, 2014. "Persistence or Convergence? The East-West Tax-Morale Gap in Germany," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(1), pages 3-30, March.
    8. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2012. "Leaders’ Impact on Public Spending Priorities: The Case of the German Laender," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 480-511, November.
    9. Martin Halla, 2011. "The Link between the Intrinsic Motivation to Comply and Compliance Behaviour: A Critical Appraisal of Existing Evidence," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Shadow Economy, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    11. Giacomo Corneo & Frank Neher, 2014. "Income inequality and self-reported values," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(1), pages 49-71, March.
    12. Jan Schnellenbach, 2015. "Does classical liberalism imply an evolutionary approach to policy-making?," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 53-70, April.
    13. Philipp Doerrenberg & Denvil Duncan & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Nice Guys Finish Last: Do Honest Taxpayers Face Higher Tax Rates?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 29-53, February.
    14. Zohal Hessami, 2010. "The Size and Composition of Government Spending in Europe and Its Impact on Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 346-382, August.
    15. repec:aia:ginidp:dp17 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    17. Martin Halla & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2005. "Taxes and Benefits: Two Distinct Options to Cheat on the State?," Economics working papers 2005-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    18. Giacomo Corneo, 2011. "GINI DP 17: Income Inequality, Value Systems and Macroeconomic Performance," GINI Discussion Papers 17, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    19. Lindbeck, Assar & Persson, Mats, 2015. "Norms, Incentives and Information in Income Insurance," Working Paper Series 1058, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    20. Friedrich Heinemann, 2011. "Economic crisis and morale," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 35-49, August.
    21. Martin Halla & Mario Lackner & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamics of the Welfare State: the Case of Benefit Morale," CESifo Working Paper Series 2641, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Martin Halla & Mario Lackner & Friedrich G. Schneider, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamics of the Welfare State: The Case of Benefit Morale -super-," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 55-74, February.
    23. Hennighausen, Tanja & Heinemann, Friedrich & Bischoff, Ivo, 2008. "Individual Determinants of Social Fairness Assessments: The Case of Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-063, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    benefit morale; tax morale; welfare state reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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