Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance

Reprint No. 2006:28

Author(s): Assar Lindbeck and Sten NybergYear: 2006 Title: Quarterly Journal of Economics Volume (No.): 121 (4) Pages: 1473–1503

Empirically, disincentive effects on work of generous welfare state arrangements tend to appear with a substantial time lag. One explanation is that norms concerning work and benefit dependency delay such effects. We model altruistic parents' economic incentives for instilling such work norms in their children. Anticipated economic support from parents may reduce work effort, and parental altruism makes threats to withdraw such support noncredible. Instilling norms mitigates this problem. However, generous social insurance arrangements tend to weaken parents' incentives to instill such norms in their children. We find empirical support for this prediction.

Lindbeck, Assar and Sten Nyberg (2006), "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance". Quarterly Journal of Economics 121(4), 1473–1503.

Assar Lindbeck


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Elgar Companion to

Social Capital and Health

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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