*Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), P.O. Box 10 34 43, 68034 Mannheim, Germany. Phone: +49 621 1235 149, Fax: +49 621 1235 223, email: email@example.com. Helpful comments from anonymous referees, Assar Lindbeck, Sten Nyberg, participants of the World Meeting of the Public Choice Society in Amsterdam 2007 and of the Research Seminar of the Freie Universität Berlin as well as competent research assistance by Benjamin Tanz and Björn Siggemann are gratefully acknowledged.
Is the Welfare State Self-Destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale
Article first published online: 14 APR 2008
© 2008 The Authors
Volume 61, Issue 2, pages 237–257, May 2008
How to Cite
Heinemann, F. (2008), Is the Welfare State Self-Destructive? A Study of Government Benefit Morale. Kyklos, 61: 237–257. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.2008.00400.x
- Issue published online: 14 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 14 APR 2008
The concern that generous welfare state institutions may in the long-run undermine social norms which limit the disincentives of social security systems is as old as the welfare state itself. Already in the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of the ‘moral disintegration’ effect of welfare dependency. This study assesses the empirical validity of this concern. Based on the results of four waves of the World Value Surveys the individual and country-specific determinants of benefit morale – defined as the reluctance to claim government benefits without legal entitlement – are analysed. The results support the empirical relevance of these worries: In the long-run an increase of government benefits and unemployment is associated with deteriorating welfare state ethics.