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Cross-country comparisons of pensioners’ incomes

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  • Disney, Richard
  • Whitehouse, Edward

Abstract

This report surveys a dozen international comparative studies of poverty, income distribution and the elderly in OECD countries. It updates a previous Department of Social Security report — Whiteford and Kennedy, 1995, based on data from the mid- to late-1980s — including information up to the mid-1990s. The report addresses a series of questions. What level are the incomes of the elderly relative to the population as a whole? How has this changed over the past two decades? How many of the old are poor? How many of the poor are old? Are the oldest of the old poorer than younger pensioners are? How do widows fare? What is the mix between public and private sources of income? Do the elderly poor remain poor? There is also a discussion of methodological issues. The results show that the incomes of the elderly are typically around 80 per cent of incomes of the populations as a whole. In most countries, this ratio has been increasing over the past two decades. Although there remain pockets of poverty among the elderly, most studies show that the old are represented proportionally or under-represented among the poor. The papers present conflicting pictures of the position of the United Kingdom. There is, however, no consistent evidence that pensioners in the United Kingdom are better or worse off than their counterparts overseas.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16345.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16345

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Keywords: pensions; retirement; old-age; income; income distribution; poverty;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. James Banks & Richard Disney & Alan Duncan & John Van Reenen, 2005. "The Internationalisation of Public Welfare Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C62-C81, 03.
  2. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 2002. "The economic well-being of older people in international perspective: a critical review," MPRA Paper 10333, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Pension systems in 15 countries compared: the value of entitlements," MPRA Paper 14751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Whitehouse, Edward & Queisser, Monika, 2007. "Pensions at a glance: public policies across OECD countries," MPRA Paper 16349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. M. Asghar Zaidi & Klaas de Vos, 2002. "Income Mobility of the Elderly in Great Britain and The Netherlands: A Comparative Investigation," Economics Series Working Papers 107, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. David Robalino, 2005. "Pensions in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7427.

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