Does safety Make People Lazy? The Significance of Welfare State and Labour Market Organization for Individuals' Work Orientation and Labour Supply in Comparative Perspective

Project leader

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2007
End date: 31/12/2010
Funding: 1690000 SEK


The positive effects of the welfare state have been increasingly contested. One argument is that comprehensive regimes will decrease incentives to work, thus ultimately lowering economic growth. Broad comparative research on this is still limited, and empirical evidence of the unintended consequences is not congruent across outcomes in terms of unemployment, sickness, and retirement. In addition, new institutionally informed attitudinal research does not lend evidence to any significant negative incentive effects. Instead, work orientation has been found to be stronger in more encompassing welfare states, and in countries with more regulated labour markets. As these findings are at odds with more economically oriented behavioural research, the aim of this project is to further investigate the basic question of how welfare state and labour market institutions influence individuals' work orientation in terms of actual behaviour, and the connection to attitudes to work. Labour supply is analysed through elaborations of available statistics. The connection between behaviour and attitudes will be analysed by using data that include measures on both outcomes. Further analysis will also be directed at examining how social politics shape attitudes among people with non-standard, or less stable work positions, in increasingly precarious labour markets, i.e. among younger and older people, women, the unemployed, and people in atypical labour contracts, who, it is often argued, hold a weaker work orientation.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:53