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When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems

Vincenzo Galasso () and Paola Profeta ()

Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS from Condorcet Center for political Economy

Abstract: We study how the prevailing internal organization of the family affected the initial design of pension systems. Our theoretical framework predicts that, in society with weak family ties, pensions systems were introduced to act as a safety net, while in societies with strong ties they replicate the tight link between generations by providing generous benefits. Using a historical classification of family ties, we show that in societies dominated by (weak ties) absolute nuclear families (f.i. Anglo-Saxon countries), safety net pension systems emerged; and viceversa in societies dominated by strong families. These results are robust to controlling for alternative legal, religious, and political explanations. Evidence on individual data confirm these findings: US citizens whose ancestors came from countries featuring strong ties (communitarian or egalitarian nuclear) families prefer to rely on the government as a provider of old age security through generous retirement benefits.

Keywords: culture; family ties, pension design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z10 Z13 N30 H10 H55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age
Date: 2012-04
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Related works:
Journal Article: When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems (2010) Downloads
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