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The limits of economic convergence in the EU: the interplay between family values and economic incentives in shaping individual behaviour in social care

Borrell, Mireia (2015) The limits of economic convergence in the EU: the interplay between family values and economic incentives in shaping individual behaviour in social care. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

While there is an abundant literature on the moderating effects of formal institutions on changes in economic incentives, there is still little understanding on whether informal institutions – such as beliefs, values and social norms - exert a similar effect. In the current European context, with increasing demands to reform the welfare systems, the question becomes all the more relevant. With this in mind, and focusing on social norms about the role of the family, this thesis aims to provide insights into the following question: are the effects of family values on individual behaviour resilient to changes in economic incentives? Using EU survey micro data the thesis analyses the interplay between the effects of family values and changes in economic incentives in shaping individual behaviour in social care. The results suggest that the effects of family values remain resilient to changes in economic incentives. The first paper confirms that, in line with the existing literature, family values affect individual behaviour. Most importantly, however, it shows that this effect can be overridden by certain individual socio-economic characteristics. The second paper focuses on the strength of the effects, showing that the effect of family values on individual behaviour is strongest when economic incentives are changed in ways that do not directly challenge prevailing family values. Finally, the third paper demonstrates that the effect of family values on individual behaviour is resilient to a policy reform that conflicts with them. The extent of the resilience depends on the socio-demographic characteristics of the individuals. These results have direct implications in the EU context, suggesting that convergence of economic outcomes might be difficult to achieve given that the impact of common problems and policies differ depending on the prevailing family values. At the very least, these differences should be taken into account when designing EU-wide policies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Mireia Borrell
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Costa-Font, Joan
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3369

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