venerdì 25 febbraio 2011

Tre pregiudizi sul welfare

Ci si sgola per spiegare che dobbiamo affrontare la nostra crisi di bilancio senza toccare il welfare.

Eppure i fatti parlano chiaro: il modo più efficace per ridurre il debito, se non l' unico, consiste nel tagliare il welfare:

By Andrew G. Biggs, Kevin A. Hassett, Matt Jensen

Most developed countries face the need for significant policy changes to balance their budgets over the long run. Yet there is significant disagreement in the literature concerning the identification and impact of successful fiscal consolidations. In this paper, we explore the impact that differing assumptions and methodologies have on conclusions, and derive bounds across specifications that can be used by policymakers in designing their own reforms. Using cyclically adjusted panel data for select OECD countries from 1970-2007, we explore how the compositions of successful and unsuccessful consolidations differ for varying definitions of success. While conclusions about the growth impact of reforms vary depending on methodology, we find that there is much less disagreement concerning composition. Specifically, we find strong evidence that expenditure cuts outweigh revenue increases in successful consolidations. We also find evidence that the type of the spending cuts is an important determinant of success, as is the type of tax increases. We use these results as a guide, and discuss specific proposals for reducing the United States' deficit that draw on the lessons from past consolidations.

Non manca mai poi chi chiede una maggiore spesa governativa per consentire alle donna una partecipazione al lavoro più consistente.

Se da noi è tanto bassa, si dice, lo si deve anche a carenze nei servizi di welfare offerti.

A costoro bisognerebbe ricordare che l' aumento dell' occupazione femminile ha sempre preceduto l' eventuale incremento nella spesa per servizi sociali che, evidentemente, non ne è la causa.

Tiago Cavalcanti & José Tavares
Economic Inquiry, January 2011, Pages 155–171

Abstract: The increase in income per capita is accompanied, in virtually all countries, by two changes in economic structure: the increase in the share of government spending in gross domestic product (GDP), and the increase in female labor force participation. We argue that these two changes are causally related. We develop a growth model based on Galor and Weil (1996) where female participation in market activities, fertility, and government size, in addition to consumption and saving, is endogenously determined. Rising incomes lead to a rise in female labor force participation as the opportunity cost of staying at home and caring for the children increases. In our model, higher government spending decreases the cost of performing household chores, including, but not limited to, child rearing and child
care, as in Rosen (1996). We also use a wide cross-section of data for developed and developing countries and show that higher market participation by women is positively and robustly associated with government size. We then investigate the causal link between participation and government size using a novel unique data set that allows the use of the relative price of productive home appliances as an instrumental variable. We find strong evidence of a causal link between female market participation and government size

Altri dicono che dobbiamo aumentare il nostro welfare per "includere", tutto cio' avrebbe l' auspicabile effetto di iniettare fiducia nel sistema. Ma i fatti dicono che il nesso di casualità va in senso inverso e che il welfare è un frutto dell' alta fiducia che circola nella società.

Andreas Bergh & Christian Bjørnskov
Kyklos, February 2011, Pages 1–19

Abstract: Despite the fact that large welfare states are vulnerable to free-riding,
the idea that universal welfare states lead to higher trust levels in the population has received some attention and support among political scientists recently. This paper argues that the opposite direction of causality is more plausible, i.e. that populations with higher trust levels are more prone to creating and successfully maintaining universal welfare states with high levels of taxation where publicly financed social insurance schemes. The hypothesis is tested using instrumental variable techniques to infer variations in trust levels that pre-date current welfare states, and then using the variation in historical trust levels to explain the current size and design of the welfare state, and finally comparing the explanatory power of trust to other potential explanatory factors such as left-right
ideology and economic openness. To infer variation about historical trust levels, we use three instruments, all used previously in the trust literature: the grammatical rule allowing pronoun-drop, average temperature in the coldest month and a dummy for constitutional monarchies. Using cross-sectional data for 77 countries, we show that these instruments are valid and that countries with higher historical trust levels have significantly higher public expenditure as a share of GDP and also have more
regulatory freedom. This finding is robust to controlling for several other potential explanations of welfare state size.

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