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Political economy and pensions in ageing societies – a note on how an ”impossible” reform was implemented in Sweden

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  • Kruse, Agneta

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

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    Abstract

    Ageing puts a strain on most countries’ pension systems; forecasts show them to be more or less unsustainable. Evidence from social choice research, theoretical as well as empirical, does not seem to offer a way out of the dilemma, as the median voter will resist a reform. Despite this, Sweden has implemented a major reform, supposedly making the system sustainable. The question in this paper is thus: how was it possible to launch such a reform in Sweden? The analysis is based on majority voting models. Important explanatory factors are age structure as well as the age of the median voter; both of these go against the probability of a reform. A focus on age structure in combination with transitional rules and specific features of the reform may provide an explanation.

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    File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/Papers/WP05_35.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005:35.

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    Length: 16 pages
    Date of creation: 07 Jun 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2005_035

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    Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
    Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
    Fax: +46 +46 2224613
    Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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    Keywords: political economy; pension reform; median voter; age structure;

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    1. Verbon, Harrie, 1993. "Public Pensions: The Role of Public Choice and Expectations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 123-35, May.
    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19563, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
    4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Reforming our pension system: Is it a demographic, financial or political problem?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 974-983, May.
    5. Friedrich Breyer & Ben Craig, 1995. "Voting on social security: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper 9511, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
    7. Kruse, Agneta & Nyberg, Kristian, 2004. "Pensions and external effects of ageing; effects on distribution," Working Papers 2004:27, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    8. Daniele Franco, 2002. "Italy: A Never-Ending Pension Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Pension Reform in Europe, pages 211-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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