Discussion Papers

A9 - Symbolische Werte und die Governance von Institutionen

SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No.


Giacomo Corneo, Frank Neher
Democratic Redistribution and Rule of the Majority


Does redistribution in democracies cater to the will of the majority? We propose a direct empirical strategy based on survey data that needs not assume that voters are guided by pecuniary motives alone. We find that most democracies implement the median voter’s preferred amount of redistribution and the probability to serve the median voter increases with the quality of democracy. However, there is a non-negligible share of democracies that implement a minority-backed amount of redistribution. Political absenteeism of the poor cannot explain such outcomes. Rather, they can be explained by the electoral bundling of redistribution with values and rights issues.

JEL classification: D3, D7, H1, P16
Redistribution, Democracy, Median-voter theorem, Inequality

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SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No.


Timm Bönke, Guido Neidhöfer
Parental background matters: Intergenerational mobility and assimilation of Italian immigrants in Germany


We investigate the hypothesis of failed integration and low social mobility of immigrants. An intergenerational assimilation model is tested empirically on household survey data and validated against administrative data provided us by the Italian Embassy in Germany. Although we confirm substantial inequality of educational achievements between immigrants and natives, we find that the children of Italian immigrants exhibit high intergenerational mobility and no less opportunities than natives to achieve high schooling degrees. These findings suggest a rejection of the failed assimilation hypothesis. Additionally, we evaluate different patterns by time of arrival, Italian region of origin and language spoken at home.


Keywords: Intergenerational Mobility; Education; Integration and Assimilation of Immigrants.

JEL Classification: I24, J15, J62.

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SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No.


Giacomo Corneo
Work Norms, Social Insurance and the Allocation of Talent


This paper challanges the view that weak work norms in generous welfare states makes them economically unsustainable. I develop a dynamic model of family-transmitted values that has a laissez-faire equilibrium with strong work norms coexisting with a social-insurance equilibrium with weak work norms. While the former has better incentives, the latter induces more intergenerational occupational mobility which improves the allocation of talent and fuels growth. Strong work norms arise as a defensive strategy of parents that aims at perpetuating their occupation along family lines. I present evidence from microdata showing that generous social insurance correlates with high intergenerational occupational mobility and that more mobile individuals endorse weaker work norms.


Keywords: work norms, unemployment insurance, occupational mobility, economic growth.

JEL-Classification: H2, O0, Z1.

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SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No.


Giacomo Corneo, Frank Neher
Income Inequality and Self-Reported Values


This paper offers a comprehensive econometric investigation of the impact of income inequality on the values endorsed by people. Using survey data from all thirty-four OECD countries over a period of almost thirty years, the following dimensions of value systems are investigated: work ethic, civism, obedience, honesty, altruism, and tolerance. In most cases, no robust effects from inequality on values are detected. However, there is evidence that a more unequal income distribution strengthens the work ethic of the population. Thus, income inequality seems to generate work incentives not only via the pecuniary reward of work but also through the symbolic reward it receives.

Keywords: Income inequality, Value systems.

JEL-Classification: D63, O15, O57, Z1


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