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Reforming Pensions in Europe: Economic Fundamentals and Political Factors

This paper analyzes pension reforms in Europe and their determinants. The author introduces an alternative measure of pension reforms by comparing long-term forecasts of pension expenditures for seventeen European countries. The larger the decrease in expected spending on public pensions in 2050 between two base years, the more successful an pension reform the country achieved (after controlling for other factors, such as demography). The author´s analysis shows that the reform effort varies widely across countries and over time. In the second part of the paper, the author analyzes factors that may facilitate or hamper pension. Only the measure of trade union power proves to be significant in explaining pension reforms. However, specific pension system factors are significant and suggest that European governments do reform their pension systems when faced with the threat of escalating pension expenditures.

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Article provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences in its journal Finance a uver - Czech Journal of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 59 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (Oktober)
Pages: 292-308

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Handle: RePEc:fau:fauart:v:59:y:2009:i:4:p:292-308
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  1. Petr Hedbávný & Ondřej Schneider & Jan Zápal, 2005. "A Fiscal Rule That Has Teeth: A Suggestion for a "Fiscal Sustainability Council" Underpinned by the Financial Markets," Working Papers IES 79, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised 2005.
  2. Allan Drazen & Vittorio Grilli, 1990. "The Benefits of Crises for Economic Reforms," NBER Working Papers 3527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Libor Dušek & Juraj Kopecsni, 2008. "Policy Risk in Action: Pension Reforms and Social Security Wealth in Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia," Working Papers IES 2008/09, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Jun 2008.
  4. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1999. "Pension plans and retirement incentives," MPRA Paper 14755, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Deborah Roseveare & Willi Leibfritz & Douglas Fore & Eckhard Wurzel, 1996. "Ageing Populations, Pension Systems and Government Budgets: Simulations for 20 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 168, OECD Publishing.
  6. GALASSO, Vincenzo & PROFETA, Paola, 2003. "Lessons for an aging society: the political sustainability of social security systems," CORE Discussion Papers 2003077, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Thai-Thanh Dang & Pablo Antolín & Howard Oxley, 2001. "Fiscal Implications of Ageing: Projections of Age-Related Spending," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 305, OECD Publishing.
  8. Robert Holzmann, 1997. "Pension Reform, Financial Market Development, and Economic Growth: Preliminary Evidence from Chile," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 149-178, June.
  9. Philip R. Gerson & G. A. Mackenzie & Peter S. Heller & Alfredo Cuevas, 2001. "Pension Reform and the Fiscal Policy Stance," IMF Working Papers 01/214, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Martin Feldstein & Horst Siebert, 2002. "Social Security Pension Reform in Europe," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-2, May.
  11. Robert Jahoda & Jiøí Špalek, 2009. "Pension Reform through Voluntary Opt-Out: The Czech Case," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 59(4), pages 309-333, Oktober.
  12. Mukesh Chawla & Gordon Betcherman & Arup Banerji, 2007. "From Red to Gray : The "Third Transition" of Aging Populations in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6741.
  13. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "EU fiscal rules: issues and lessons from political economy," Working Paper Series 0421, European Central Bank.
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