The introduction of Bismarck´s social security system and its effects on marriage and fertility in Prussia

Guinnane, Timothy W. ; Streb, Jochen

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-591312
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: Ruhr Economic Papers
Volume: 901
Place of publication: Bochum
Publishing house: RUB, Department of Economics
ISBN: 978-3-96973-042-3
ISSN: 1864-4872
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Law and Economics > Wirtschaftsgeschichte (Streb)
License: CC BY 4.0
Subject: 330 Economics
900 History
Keywords (English): Social insurance , pensions , fertility transition , marriage , Bismarck , Prussia
Abstract: Economists have long argued that introducing social insurance will reduce fertility. The hypothesis relies on standard models: if children are desirable in part because they provide security in case of disability or old age, then State programs that provide insurance against these events should induce couples to substitute away from children in the allocation of wealth. We test this claim using the introduction of social insurance in Germany in the period 1881-1910. Bismarck´s social-insurance scheme had three pillars: health insurance, workplace accident insurance, and an old age pension. Earlier studies typically focus on the pension alone; we consider all three pillars. We find that Bismarck´s social insurance system affected fertility overall only via its effects on the incentive to marry. The old age insurance by itself tended to reduce marriages, but the health and accident-insurance components had the opposite effect. For people exposed to all three pillars of social insurance, the two effects cancelled each other and the aggregate effect on fertility was muted.

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BASE: Guinnane, Timothy W. ; Streb, Jochen

Google Scholar: Guinnane, Timothy W. ; Streb, Jochen

ORCID: Guinnane, Timothy W. ; Streb, Jochen ORCID: 0000-0001-7812-7923

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