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Poor Old Grandmas? A Note on the Gender Dimension of Pension Reforms

  • Marcella Corsi
  • Carlo D’Ippoliti

In the face of rapid population ageing, most OECD countries have undergone or are considering substantial reforms of their pension systems. This paper investigates the outcomes of a process of gender-blind pension reform, that is designing a pension system assuming an idealised (a-gendered) worker/consumer. The paper specifically deals with the case of Italy, in light of the extraordinary high number of pension reforms that took place there, and of their far-reaching and highly representative nature. We find that recent reforms in Italy have not been gender-neutral. Rather, starting from a situation providing strong incentives towards women’s commitment to unpaid work, reforms in 1990s tried to establish equal treatment of women and men, removing households’ financial gains from having only women doing all the unpaid work. Unfortunately, the short-run implications of this policy may be seriously worrying, as women may have not enough time to accumulate a decent pension annuity. A temporary counter-balancing policy may be needed if we are to avoid women’s poverty and dependence in old age. However, the most recent reform reversed the virtuous trend by establishing new positive discriminations in the eligibility criteria, thus preventing household’s expectations from departing from the old division of social roles.

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Article provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its journal Brussels economic review.

Volume (Year): 52 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 35-56

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Handle: RePEc:bxr:bxrceb:2013/80755
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  1. Bottazzi, Renata & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2006. "Retirement expectations, pension reforms, and their impact on private wealth accumulation," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  2. Tito Boeri & Agar Brugiavini, 2008. "Pension Reforms and Women Retirement Plans," Working Papers 2008_35, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  3. Graziella Caselli & Franco Peracchi & Elisabetta Barbi & Rosa Maria Lipsi, 2003. "Differential Mortality and the Design of the Italian System of Public Pensions," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(SpecialIs), pages 45-78, 08.
  4. Sandro Gronchi & Rocco Aprile, 1998. "The 1995 Pension Reform: Equity, Sustainability and Indexation," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 12(1), pages 67-100, 03.
  5. Angela Cipollone & Carlo D'Ippoliti, 2010. "Discriminating factors of women's employment," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(11), pages 1055-1062.
  6. Agar Brugiavini & Franco Peracchi, 2003. "Social Security Wealth and Retirement Decisions in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(SpecialIs), pages 79-114, 08.
  7. Margherita Borella & Giovanna Segre, 2008. "Le pensioni dei lavoratori parasubordinati: prospettive dopo un decennio di gestione separata," CeRP Working Papers 78, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
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