IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The demand for social insurance: does culture matter?

  • Beatrix Brügger
  • Rafael Lalive
  • Andreas Steinhauer
  • Josef Zweimüller

Can different social groups develop different demands for social insurance of risks to health and work? We study this issue across language groups in Switzerland. Language defines social groups and Swiss language groups are separated by a clear geographic border. Actual levels of social insurance are identical on either side of the within state segments of the language border. We can therefore study the role of culture in shaping the demand for social insurance. Specifically, we contrast at the language border actual voting decisions on country-wide changes to social insurance programs. Key results indicate substantially higher support for expansions of social insurance among residents of Latin-speaking (i.e. French, Italian, or Romansh) border municipalities compared to their German-speaking neighbors in adjacent municipalities. We consider three possible explanations for this finding: informal insurance, ideology, and the media. We find that informal insurance does not vary enough to explain stark differences in social insurance. However, differences in ideology and segmented media markets are potentially important explanatory factors.

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 Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 041.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:041
Contact details of provider: Postal: Rämistrasse 71, CH-8006 Zürich
Phone: +41-1-634 21 37
Fax: +41-1-634 49 82
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Francis Bloch (GREQAM and Universite de la Mediterranee), Garance Genicot (Georgetown University, and Debraj Ray (New York University and Instituto de Analisis Economico (CSIC)), 2004. "Informal Insurance in Social Networks," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-16, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  4. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Belief in Just World and Redistributive Politics," Post-Print hal-00173678, HAL.
  5. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  6. Rafael Lalive, 2006. "How do Extended Benefits affect Unemployment Duration? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," IEW - Working Papers 294, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Stutzer, Alois & Lalive, Rafael, 2001. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "A Model of Cultural Transmission, Voting and Political Ideology," Papers 1999-13, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  9. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234, 08.
  10. Luttmer, Erzo F. P. & Singhal, Monica, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Paper Series rwp08-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  11. William A. Galston, 2001. "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 788-790.
  12. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
  13. Verme, Paolo, 2009. "Happiness, freedom and control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 146-161, August.
  14. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000306,
  16. H. Peyton Young, 2007. "Social Norms," Economics Series Working Papers 307, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Jeffrey Milyo & Tim Groseclose, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," Working Papers 0501, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 25 Aug 2005.
  18. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Irma Clots-Figueras & Paolo Masella, 2007. "Identity and language policies," Economics Working Papers we077746, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  20. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  21. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  22. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2009. "Civic Virtue and Labor Market Institutions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 111-45, January.
  23. Angelucci, Manuela & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Rangel, Marcos A. & Rasul, Imran, 2010. "Family networks and school enrolment: Evidence from a randomized social experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 197-221, April.
  24. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  25. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
  26. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. H. Peyton Young & Mary A. Burke, 2001. "Competition and Custom in Economic Contracts: A Case Study of Illinois Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 559-573, June.
  28. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  29. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:zur:econwp:041. 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: (Marita Kieser)

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.