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The Welfare State as Piggy BankInformation, Risk, Uncertainty, and the Role of the State$
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Nicholas Barr

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246599.001.0001

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The Welfare State in Post‐Communist Countries

The Welfare State in Post‐Communist Countries

(p.241) Chapter 15 The Welfare State in Post‐Communist Countries
The Welfare State as Piggy Bank

Nicholas Barr (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Post‐communist transition has two central elements: a move from central planning to market forces and a move from totalitarian to more democratic government. Because of the resulting economic, political, and social disruption, the reforming countries fail even more sharply than western countries to conform to the assumptions of the simple model described in Ch. 2. Information is highly imperfect, risk greater, and uncertainty pervasive. Two conclusions about the welfare state follow. Firstly, the role of the state is perhaps greater than in the advanced industrial countries. Secondly, – the subject of this chapter – the welfare state needs systematically to change to meet the needs of a market economy. The first part of the chapter establishes the simple analytics of transition. Subsequent sections parallel the rest of the book, discussing insurance issues, particularly in connection with labour‐market adjustment, the reform of pensions, and necessary changes in the education system.

Keywords:   central planning, education, imperfect information, insurance, market forces, pensions, post‐communist transition, risk, role of the state, uncertainty

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