The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age
In 1998, the Swiss voters approved of an increase in the female retirement age within the public pension system from 62 to 64. The referendum, being on a single issue only, offers a unique opportunity to explore the political feasibility of pension reforms and to apply theoretical models of life-cycle decision making. Estimates carried out with municipality data suggest that the outcome of the vote conforms well with predictions drawn from a theoretical model. Young agents, elderly and—to a lesser extent—middle-aged men favor an increase in female retirement age, while middle-aged women strongly oppose it. Richer communities and those with a high proportion of self-employed or a low fraction of blue-collar workers are more likely to opt for a higher retirement age. Ideological preferences and regional differences also play a considerable role. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002
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