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The Demand for Social Insurance: Does Culture Matter?


Brügger, Beatrix; Lalive, Rafael; Steinhauer, Andreas; Zweimüller, Josef (2011). The Demand for Social Insurance: Does Culture Matter? Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 41, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Can di*fferent social groups develop di*fferent demands for social insurance of risks to health and work? We study this issue across language groups in Switzerland. Language de*fines 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. Specifi*cally, 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 di*fferences in social insurance. However, di*fferences in ideology and segmented media markets are potentially important explanatory factors.

Abstract

Can di*fferent social groups develop di*fferent demands for social insurance of risks to health and work? We study this issue across language groups in Switzerland. Language de*fines 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. Specifi*cally, 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 di*fferences in social insurance. However, di*fferences in ideology and segmented media markets are potentially important explanatory factors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:J21, J64, Z10
Language:English
Date:October 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:54
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
ISSN:1664-7041
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No. 100012-120356/1)
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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