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Vacillations around a pension reform trajectory: time for a change?


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  • Platon Tinios


Discussion of pensions in Greece displays a paradox: reform is universally acknowledged to be important, urgent and mature, yet the political class avoid and postpone all discussion. This results in a syncopated reform path. A historical overview indicates that reforms are best understood as interrupted and unsuccessful attempts to complete the original blueprint for the pension system which was formulated in the 1930s. These define a reform trajectory around which there exist centrifugal forces pulling away (cross subsidies), and homeostatic mechanisms bringing back on track (public finance). Thus, the original 1930s design is implicitly accepted as a maximal aim of reform, while the question of its appropriateness is never raised. This analysis explains reform failures by problems in the content and preparation of reforms, rather than on the strength of opposition (which, in any case, was highly predictable). A fresh start, provided there is adequate preparation, is a possible way out of the impasse.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 27674.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:27674

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Keywords: Greece; History of the welfare state; Social Security; Pension reforms;

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  1. Stelios Stavridis, 2007. "Anti-Americanism in Greece: reactions to the 11-S, Afghanistan and Iraq," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 06, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  2. Theodoros S. Papaspyrou, 2007. "Economic Policy in EMU: Community Framework and National Strategies – focus on Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 04, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  3. Kevin Featherstone & Georgios Kazamias & Dimitris Papadimitriou, 2001. "The Limits of External Empowerment: EMU, Technocracy and Reform of the Greek Pension System," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 49(3), pages 462-480, 08.
  4. Nikolaos Zahariadis, 2007. "Subsidising Europe’s industry: is Greece the exception?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 5633, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Nikolaos Zahariadis, 2007. "Subsidising Europe’s Industry: is Greece the exception?," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 03, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  6. Christos J. Paraskevopoulos, 2007. "Social Capital and Public Policy in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 09, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  7. Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos, 2007. "Institutions and the implementation of EU public policy in Greece: the case of public procurement," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 02, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
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