Working Paper No. 585

Social Norms and Welfare State Dynamics

Published: November 15, 2002Pages: 14Keywords: Welfare State; Social Norms; Social InsuranceJEL-codes: D19; D64; H31; Z13

Social Norms and Welfare State Dynamics Assar Lindbeck, Sten Nyberg and Jörgen W. Weibull


The paper analyses the interaction between economic incentives and work norms in the context of social insurance. If the work norm is endogenous in the sense that it is weaker when the population share of beneficiaries is higher, then voters will choose less generous benefits than otherwise. We also discuss welfare-state dynamics when there is a time lag in the adjustment of the norm in response to changes in this population share, and show how a temporary shift in the unemployment rate may cause persistence in the number of beneficiaries.

Assar Lindbeck

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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