유럽의 사례를 통해 본 복지와 성장의 조화 방안 연구 (Harmonizing Social Welfare and Economic Growth: Case Studies of European Countries and Implications for Korea)

232 Pages Posted: 16 May 2014

See all articles by Yoo-Duk Kang

Yoo-Duk Kang

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Tae Hyun Oh

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Cheol-Won Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Hyun Jean Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Junyup Kim

Independent

Date Written: December 30, 2013

Abstract

Korean Abstract: 유럽재정위기 이후 재정건전성의 중요성이 한층 부각되면서 복지지출의 적정성 문제가 크게 제기되고 있다. 국내에서도 양극화 해소를 위해 복지확충이 필요하다는 목소리가 높아지고 있으나, 재정악화에 대한 우려의 목소리도 동시에 존재하고 있어 재정에 대한 부담을 최소화하는 가운데, 성장친화적인 복지정책 도입의 필요성이 절실한 상황이다.

본 연구는 유럽의 사례를 살펴봄으로써 복지지출과 경제성장률과 같은 경제적 성과 간의 인과관계를 분석하고 성장에 기여할 수 있는 복지제도 및 정책의 구현방안을 모색하는 것을 목적으로 하였다.

복지지출이 경제성장률에 미치는 영향에 대해서는 많은 연구들이 진행되었으나, 오늘날까지 긍정론과 부정론이 엇갈리고 있다. 긍정론의 관점은 복지지출이 인적자본 향상 및 정치·사회적 안정에 기여하며, 일정 수준의 유효수요를 유지시킴으로써 안정적인 경제성장의 여건을 조성한다고 보고 있다. 반면에 부정론의 관점은 복지지출의 증가가 조세부담의 증가로 이어져 재원의 효율적인 투입과 경제활동을 저해하고, 개인의 복지의존성을 유발시켜 근로의욕을 약화시키는 한편, 자본축적에 부정적으로 작용할 수 있다는 점을 지적한다. 다양한 실증연구들도 명확한 결론을 내리지는 못하고 있으나, 대체로 경제성장률과 정부규모 또는 복지지출 간에는 대체로 음(-)의 관계가 성립한다고 보고 있다. 본 연구에서는 OECD 회원국을 대상으로 정부규모 또는 복지지출과 경제성장 간의 상관관계를 살펴보고 이 관계에 영향을 줄 수 있는 변수들을 점검해 보았다. 본 연구를 통해서도 경제성장률과 정부규모 또는 복지지출 사이에는 음(-)의 관계가 있음이 확인되었으나, 복지지출의 성격에 따라 경제성장률과의 관계는 다르게 나타났다. 이는 복지정책 내에서도 세부정책간에 조합의 여지가 있음을 의미한다. 한편 교육과 R&D에 대한 투자비중이 높은 국가일수록 높은 복지지출의 비중에도 불구하고 경제성장률이 높은 것으로 나타났는데, 이는 장기적으로 인적자원에 대한 투자와 생산성 향상의 효과가 경제성장률에 큰 영향을 끼치고 있음을 의미한다. 거버넌스 측면에서도 부패가 낮고, 사업환경이 좋은 국가일수록 경제성장률이 높은 것으로 나타났으며, 전반적으로 북유럽 국가들이 높은 우수한 경제성장률을 보였다. 이를 근거로 판단할 때 복지체제 구축에 있어서 인적자원의 향상에 초점을 둔 정책이 필요하며, 높은 세율이 기업 활동과 고용에 부정적으로 작용할 수 있다는 점을 고려하여 불필요한 규제를 완화하고 사업 환경을 개선함으로써 경제활동을 독려할 필요가 있다.

탈상품화와 계층화를 중심으로 복지모델의 유형화를 시도한 Esping-Andersen의 연구는 복지모델에 관한 연구 중 선구적이라 할 수 있다. 이 기준에 따라 유럽의 복지모델은 자유주의(앵글로-색슨 모델), 보수주의(대륙모델), 사민주의(북유럽모델)로 유형화된다. 그러나 다수의 연구자들이 남유럽국가도 대륙모델과는 다른 특징을 가지고 있음을 주장한 바 있는데, 이에 본 연구에서는 지중해 모델을 추가하여 복지모델을 4개로 유형화한 후 각각의 모델이 갖고 있는 특징을 다양한 기준으로 살펴보았다. 2008년 유럽 재정위기 발발 이전으로 시기를 한정하여 살펴본 유럽의 복지모델 특징은 소득불균형 및 빈곤완화 측면에서는 조세와 이전지출에 의한 소득분배 개선도가 북유럽모델에서 가장 크게, 그리고 지중해모델에서는 가장 낮게 나타났다. 또한 조세 및 이전지출 후 저소득층 비중은 북유럽모델과 대륙모델이 가장 낮은 반면 지중해모델과 앵글로색슨모델은 상대적으로 높게 나타났다. 대륙모델과 북유럽모델은 보편주의가 적용된다는 점에서 동일하나 대륙모델이 직종별로 분리된 복지체계를 기반으로 전국을 사회보장의 틀로 포괄하는 반면 북유럽모델은 대부분의 국민을 하나의 제도에 포괄함으로써 보편주의를 달성하는 모델이다. 이런 이유로 Esping-Andersen은 대륙모델이 보편주의임에도 사회복지의 ‘계층화 효과’가 나타나는 반면 북유럽모델은 이런 효과가 나타나지 않는 것으로 보았다. 복지제도의 지속가능성은 효율성이 높은 북유럽모델과 앵글로색슨모델이 상대적으로 높았다. 그러나 각각의 모델이 갖고 있는 특징이 항구적이거나 변함없는 것으로 이해하기에는 무리가 있다. 이는 같은 복지모델을 구성하고 있는 국가별로도 상이한 모습을 보여주고 있기 때문인데 그와 같은 한계는 국가별 사례연구를 통해 보완될 수 있다.

English Abstract: Debt crisis in some European countries have created a controversy in Korea, which has managed to achieve a relatively sound fiscal position. However, with welfare spending continuing to garner a bigger chunk of the national budget, this has become a key economic issue that has attracted much public attention. Fiscal conservatives call for tighter controls on welfare spending, because once spending starts growing, it tends to become hard to reduce and reverse. On the other hand, some are calling for greater welfare spending in order to temper the effects of economic polarization, social unrest, unemployment and an aging population. In this context, this paper aims to examine the relationship between welfare spending and economic growth and propose a direction for welfare policy which can actually contribute to economic growth.

Discussion over the proper size of welfare spending is based on the argument that large governments tend to be inefficient. It is often said that large government distorts resource allocation and economic activities, not to mention that big welfare spending decreases incentives to work, leading to chronic low growth and high unemployment. However, there are also opinions that cite positive effects of welfare spending on economic growth. First, welfare spending can make up for capital and labor market failure. As income inequality may inhibit investment for human and physical capital, redistribution policy can remedy this capital market failure and promote growth. Second, welfare spending can contribute to social integration, allowing for stable growth. Widening income gap aggravates discord and conflict between classes, becoming a factor for social unrest that leads to negative impact on economic growth. According to various empirical studies, there is generally a negative correlation between government spending/welfare spending and economic growth rate, although the correlation has not been fully confirmed. However, while it may be very difficult to find causality, it is relatively easy to prove a correlation. Against these arguments and previous studies, this paper reviews the correlation between government spending/welfare spending and economic growth rate, and finds a number of variables that may affect the correlation. Many studies have pointed out negative correlation between big government spending or large welfare spending and economic growth rate, which this paper confirmed as well. However, we have shown that the impact of welfare spending on economic growth rate varied depending on its characteristics. Of special note, countries with higher education and R&D spending displayed high economic growth rate despite large welfare spending as a percentage of GDP. This finding can be interpreted as investment in human capital and productivity increase having a big impact on the growth rate in the long run.

Even though there have been many research on the classification of the European welfare models or regimes, Esping-Andersen (1990)'s tripartie-regimes is the most significant amongst them. He argues that European Welfare models consist of Liberal (the Anglo-Saxon), Conservative (Continental) and Social Democratic (Nordic) models according to decommodification and social stratification. However, some experts and researchers, in particular Ferrera (1996) and Sapir (2005), put weight on the distinctive importance of the Southern European model which is different from the Continental model. As a result, our research makes use of four European welfare models: the Anglo-Saxon, the Continental, the Nordic and the Southern European.

The Nordic model is well known for the high level of social expenditure based on citizenship rather than on contribution. In this model, the role of government is more important than that of the market. Also the Nordic model tries to enhance the linkage between work and welfare by active labor market policies. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon model regards welfare not as a social right but as distribution, focusing on low income households as social assistance based on means-test. Therefore, the requirements for beneficiaries are very strict even though the level of welfare is not higher than that of other Welfare models. In the case of the Continental model, it reflects key features of both the Nordic model and the Anglo-Saxon model. While the Continental model contends that the role of the government is more important as the case of the Nordic model, it sets up complex pension systems that reflect occupation, resulting in wider economic polarization. Lastly, the family-centered Southern European model is known for its high level of employment protection. And cash benefits are more important than other methods. However, as many experts point out, the structural problems of the Southern European model have to be addressed with respect to welfare sustainability.

After analyzing the European welfare models by the OECD Social Expenditure Database (1994~2007), we can find an array of results. First, the improvement of income inequality and the rate of poverty are more effective in the Nordic model than in other three European models. Second, the welfare sustainability is even higher in the Nordic model and the Anglo-Saxon model in terms of the efficiency. Third, the Anglo-Saxon model and the Nordic model display high level of GDP per capita as the measure of economic performance. Lastly the Southern European model can be estimated to be less effective than any other European Welfare models. However, there are some critiques on the classification of European Welfare models. For instance, countries classified within the European Welfare models display disparate performances and features. This is the reason why case-studies on major countries' welfare systems are needed.

For more detailed analysis, we selected four European countries, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Netherlands, which are regarded as successful cases of welfare reform since the 1990s. In case of Denmark, the Danish government has focused on improving labor participation to account for the mid and long-term demographic changes (i.e. population aging) and strengthen the sustainability of the Danish welfare system since the 1990s. In this context, some examples include raising the retirement age to 67 for receipt of pensions and reforming voluntary early retirement pension (VERP) that delays retirement age, providing more incentives to work. In the meantime, welfare reforms in Sweden have been initiated as a response to the negative business cycle shock and sequential crises in its welfare system. While Swedish public spending is under the control of strong fiscal regulations, the Swedish government has tried to make for a more predictable and sustainable welfare system. For instance, through the pension reform in 1998, it is possible to reflect real wage, inflation rate, economic growth, and life expectancy in the calculation of the amount of pension entitlements improving the overall sustainability of the Swedish pension system. In Germany, “Hartz reform” in 2003-2005 formed the foundation of the current German welfare system, focusing on the promotion of employment and the flexibility of the labor market. This brought about new forms of labor such as dispatch working and mini-jobs. Moreover, education and financial assistance is provided to encourage the elderly and women to actively participate in the labor market. Especially, in order to cope with the aging society, the age level of persons benefiting from the pension system has been raised. In the German welfare system, all policies acknowledge that welfare and growth influence each other. The Netherlands has long been the model of traditional and generous welfare state in Europe. After the Wassenaar Agreement in 1982, the Dutch welfare system has developed a tendency to focus on lightening the tax burden in public expenditure, control over wage increase, and reducing the level of social security by practicing flexicurity. In order to maintain female and elderly citizens within the labor market, various policies were implemented. Upward adjustment of the retirement age occurred within the same context. However, after the global financial crisis and European financial crisis, the Dutch government is seeking methods to secure financial stability by efficient allocation of welfare as well as increasing productivity by invigorating the labor market.

Today, welfare state models face numerous challenges. Many developed countries in Europe are experiencing worsening fiscal sustainability with narrow room for economic stimulus, and more sluggish economic growth. Austerity measures were put in place to recover fiscal stability, but making cuts in large spending budgets has proven difficult and painstaking. Raising tax rates, which represents an alternative, is difficult for possibility of its negative impact on economic activity. As for semi-developed countries, the likelihood of increases in future welfare spending due to low birth rate and aging populations looms over already-existing demands for more welfare. We can find some implications from the above cases toward a future direction of Korea's welfare policy. First, it is necessary to maximize existing welfare policy, but also develop ways to raise taxes in growth-friendly way. Also, in the coming years, it is necessary to decide on the time for increasing tax rates. Second, we have to create an atmosphere conducive to policy innovation. Mindful that high tax rates, an essential feature of welfare regimes, may put burden on business activities and employment, it would be necessary to ease unnecessary regulations and reform the business environment in order to encourage economic activity. Third, we must establish growth-oriented welfare regimes with special focus on strengthening human capital and employment rates. It is helpful for long-term growth to raise productivity through robust R&D investment. Welfare reforms reviewed in this paper focus also on increasing retirement age in order to cope with population aging. It is required to raise productivity and employment rates to sustain economic growth, and use the fruits of that increase on raising growth rates for sustaining the welfare regime.

Note: Downloadable document is in Korean.

Keywords: Social Welfare, Economic Growth, Social Expenditure, Welfare reform Europe

Suggested Citation

Kang, Yoo-Duk and Oh, Tae Hyun and Lee, Cheol-Won and Lee, Hyun Jean and Kim, Junyup, 유럽의 사례를 통해 본 복지와 성장의 조화 방안 연구 (Harmonizing Social Welfare and Economic Growth: Case Studies of European Countries and Implications for Korea) (December 30, 2013). KIEP Research Paper No. Policy Analysis-13-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437219 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2437219

Yoo-Duk Kang (Contact Author)

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Tae Hyun Oh

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Cheol-Won Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Hyun Jean Lee

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Junyup Kim

Independent

No Address Available

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