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The limits of equality : An economic analysis of the Israeli Kibbutz.

Author: Ran Abramitzky
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Northwestern University, 2005.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : eBook : EnglishView all editions and formats
Publication:Dissertation Abstracts International, 66-06A.
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The Israeli Kibbutzim are thought-provoking organizations. In my dissertation, I identify an economic puzzle underlying the Kibbutzim's persistence, suggest an analytical approach that solves the puzzle, draw out the testable implications of that approach and then test those implications. As voluntary cooperatives based on equality in the distribution of income across members, standard theory suggests that they are
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Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Ran Abramitzky
ISBN: 0542172542 9780542172540
OCLC Number: 72803723
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-06, Section: A, page: 2331.
Adviser: Joel Mokyr.
Description: 183 p.

Abstract:

The Israeli Kibbutzim are thought-provoking organizations. In my dissertation, I identify an economic puzzle underlying the Kibbutzim's persistence, suggest an analytical approach that solves the puzzle, draw out the testable implications of that approach and then test those implications. As voluntary cooperatives based on equality in the distribution of income across members, standard theory suggests that they are potentially subject to unraveling due to severe problems of adverse selection and moral hazard. Yet, the Kibbutz movement successfully survived for most of the twentieth century and still seems, in large part, viable. Recently, however, a financial crisis hit the Kibbutzim and many Kibbutzim shift, for the first time in history, away from full equality by introducing various degrees of differential reforms. I build a simple theoretical framework to capture the main tradeoffs facing the Kibbutzim. My model makes predictions about the degree of equality that each Kibbutz would choose as well as predictions about the exit rates and the quality of migrants. I test the predictions of the model with both individual-level data sets and Kibbutz-level data sets assembled through field work in Israel.

A study of the Kibbutzim allows us to deal with fundamental questions in economics such as how insurance can be provided despite the problems of moral hazard and adverse selection, how moral hazard and adverse selection shape contractual relationships, and how these problems are solved in egalitarian partnerships. I address the following questions: how did the voluntary egalitarian Kibbutzim coexist with a more capitalist environment? What level of equality can be sustained within a Kibbutz as an equilibrium? What is the role of economic forces in the behavior of Kibbutzim and in members' migration decisions? I find that Kibbutzim are self-enforcing organizations, whose behavior is shaped by the tradeoffs between insurance and incentives. The analysis suggests that in the foreseeable future, the Kibbutzim can continue to survive in a changing economic environment, even if in an altered form.

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