Wednesday, 4 February 2009

This just in: do welfare benefits really erode the work ethic?

Someone just sent this to me -- it is an Economist article titled "British attitudes to work: Can't or won't?" Very interesting, very timely, I only wish I had it 30 hours ago. This is how it starts:

THAT mythical beast, homo economicus, is utterly clear about the purpose of work: to get paid. He is keener on leisure than on work, and if money can be got without effort, he downs tools. If real people feel the same, then bountiful out-of-work benefits should be found in the same places as work-shy citizens.

Yet a cross-country comparison of benefits and attitudes to work published on January 28th finds precisely the opposite pattern.