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The demand for social insurance: does culture matter?

Beatrix Brügger, Rafael Lalive (), Andreas Steinhauer () and Josef Zweimüller ()
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Beatrix Eugster ()

No 41, ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - University of Zurich

Abstract: Can different social groups develop different demands for social insurance of risks to health and work? We study this issue across language groups in Switzerland. Language defines social groups and Swiss language groups are separated by a clear geographic border. Actual levels of social insurance are identical on either side of the within state segments of the language border. We can therefore study the role of culture in shaping the demand for social insurance. Specifically, we contrast at the language border actual voting decisions on country-wide changes to social insurance programs. Key results indicate substantially higher support for expansions of social insurance among residents of Latin-speaking (i.e. French, Italian, or Romansh) border municipalities compared to their German-speaking neighbors in adjacent municipalities. We consider three possible explanations for this finding: informal insurance, ideology, and the media. We find that informal insurance does not vary enough to explain stark differences in social insurance. However, differences in ideology and segmented media markets are potentially important explanatory factors.

Keywords: Culture; language; preferences for social insurance; spatial regression discontinuity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J21 J64 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ias and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (79) Track citations by RSS feed

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