Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 147, Issue 2, pp 107–155 | Cite as

Redistribution in Switzerland: Social cohesion or simple smoothing of lifetime incomes?

  • Monika Engler
Open Access


Using the example of Switzerland, this paper examines the extent to which the state and the social security institutions change the income distribution. Two sets of questions are examined: (1) Who benefits from the public services, and who bears the public costs? (2) To what extent does an annual redistribution involve redistribution (a) across households with different lifetime income, and (b) across different phases of life within the same households? Budget incidence analyses and pseudo panel procedures allow to compare annual and lifetime household incomes that arise before and after transfers. The results suggest that public interventions induce substantial redistribution, which is due primarily however, to income-smoothing transfers within households and not to redistribution across households.


D31 D91 H22 


budget incidence analysis redistribution lifetime income smoothing pseudo panel procedure 


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Copyright information

© Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Engler
    • 1
  1. 1.Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic ResearchSt.GallenSwitzerland

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