Welfare states and economic performance

Two recent papers.  One stresses the very commonly misunderstood relationship between welfare states and economic performance.  The other reviews the changing trends in economics research.

Explaining Welfare State Survival: The Role of Economic Freedom and Globalization      

Ratio; Lund University – Department of Economics

Using the economic freedom index and the newly developed KOF-index of globalization, it is shown that the Scandinavian welfare states have experienced faster, bigger and more consistent increases in these areas, compared to the smaller Central-European and the Anglo-Saxon welfare states. The market economy and globalization hence do not pose threats to these welfare states, but are instead neglected factors in explaining their survival and good economic performance. Big government decreases the economic freedom index by definition, but the welfare states compensate in other areas, such as legal structure and secure property rights.

What Has Mattered to Economics Since 1970

E. Han Kim, Adair Morse, Luigi Zingales

—- Abstract —–
We compile the list of articles published in major refereed economics journals during the last 35 years that have received more than 500 citations. We document major shifts in the mode of contribution and in the importance of different sub-fields: Theory loses out to empirical work, and micro and macro give way to growth and development in the 1990s. While we do not witness any decline in the primacy of production in the United States over the period, the concentration of institutions within the U.S. hosting and training authors of the highly-cited articles has declined substantially.