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Assets and Retirement: the French Experience, 1820-1940

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  • Jérôme Bourdieu

    (INRA-LEA, and INED)

  • Lionel Kesztenbaum

    (INRA-LEA, and INED)

Abstract

Ever since the controversies on blue-collar workers' pensions in the mid-nineteenth century, the capacity of individuals to provide their own old-age insurance has been debated. Yesterday, workers were stigmatized for their improvidence and denied all pension rights. Today, there are calls for everyone to be free to build his or her own nest egg for old age. What was the real situation of those who reached old age in a period when there were few or no retirement pensions? Using individual asset data, we estimate the percentage of the population that had enough financial resources to live autonomously their last years of life. Life-cycle savings were highly insufficient to support the elderly in the nineteenth century. Not only workers and the lowest-skilled wage-earners but large groups among the French population did not possess enough assets to subsist in the final period of a life of labour and saving.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques in its journal Economie et Statistique.

Volume (Year): 417-418 (2009)
Issue (Month): (June)
Pages: 77-91.

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Handle: RePEc:crs:ecosta:es417-418d

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Related research

Keywords: Ageing; Life Cycle; Pension; Savings; State Welfare; France 19th and 20th Century;

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  1. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
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