Using a two-sector-two-country model with aggregate scale economies and unionisation, we show that optimal welfare state policy entails positive levels of unemployment benefits under free-trade and capital mobility. In this setting, economic integration does not reduce the revenue raising capacity of governments and thus does not lead to a race-to-the-bottom in social standards. Instead, trade and capital flows interact with welfare state policies in increasing welfare even when each government acts independently (non-cooperatively) in determining its optimal welfare payment. Cooperation is shown to improve upon noncooperative outcomes by raising both the generosity of the welfare state and aggregate welfare.
|Journal||Journal of International Economics|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
- Circular causation International trade Capital mobility Optimal policy Welfare state