Working papers, Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien)
Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family? Evidence from OECD Member Countries
(), Mario Lackner
() and Johann Scharler
Abstract: 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.
Keywords: Marriage, divorce, fertility, welfare state, risk sharing; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: J12,; J13,; J18,; D1,; D62,; H31,; H53; (follow links to similar papers)
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