Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family? Evidence from OECD Member Countries

Halla, Martin and Lackner, Mario and Scharler, Johann (2013) Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family? Evidence from OECD Member Countries. Department of Economics Working Paper Series, 150. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


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We study the effect of the size of the welfare state on family outcomes in OECD member countries. Exploiting exogenous variation in public social spending, due to varying degrees of political fractionalization (i.e. the number of relevant parties involved in the legislative process), we show that an expansion in the welfare state increases the fertility, marriage, and divorce rates with a quantitatively stronger effect on the marriage rate. We conclude that the welfare state supports family formation. Nevertheless, we also find that the welfare state decouples marriage and fertility, and therefore, alters the organization of the family. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: marriage / divorce / fertility / welfare state / risk sharing / OECD / Wohlfahrtsstaat / Familienpolitik
Classification Codes: RVK QX 300, QX 000 ; JEL J12, J13, J18, D1, D62, H31, H53
Divisions: Departments > Volkswirtschaft
Depositing User: Claudia Tering-Raunig
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2013 15:15
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 00:41


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