Big Data and the Welfare State
How the Information Revolution Threatens Social Solidarity
Author(s): Torben Iversen, Philipp Rehm
Publication Date: 19-05-2022
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A core principle of the welfare state is that everyone pays taxes or contributions in exchange for universal insurance against social risks such as sickness, old age, unemployment, and plain bad luck. This solidarity principle assumes that everyone is a member of a single national insurance pool, and it is commonly explained by poor and asymmetric information, which undermines markets and creates the perception that we are all in the same boat. Living in the midst of an information revolution, this is no longer a satisfactory approach. This book explores, theoretically and empirically, the consequences of 'big data' for the politics of social protection. Torben Iversen and Philipp Rehm argue that more and better data polarize preferences over public insurance and often segment social insurance into smaller, more homogenous, and less redistributive pools, using cases studies of health and unemployment insurance and statistical analyses of life insurance, credit markets, and public opinion.
- Offers an analytical framework to examine the consequences of 'big data' for social policy and inequality
- Theorizes the role of increasing information, offering multiple empirical, novel approaches to measure and analyze it
- Provides an important intervention in the field, helping predict future developments for the welfare state