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The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age

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  • Monika Bütler

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Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Bütler, 2002. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 349-365, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:9:y:2002:i:4:p:349-365
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016555700763
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Congleton, Roger D & Shughart, William F, II, 1990. "The Growth of Social Security: Electoral Push or Political Pull?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 109-132, January.
    2. Breyer, Friedrich, 1994. "The political economy of intergenerational redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 61-84, May.
    3. Breyer, Friedrich & Craig, Ben, 1997. "Voting on social security: Evidence from OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 705-724, December.
    4. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
    5. Butler, Monika, 2000. "The political feasibility of pension reform options: the case of Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 389-416, March.
    6. 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 373-388, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Lacomba & Francisco Lagos, 2010. "Postponing the legal retirement age," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 357-369, July.
    2. Hanel, Barbara & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Financial Incentives and the Timing of Retirement: Evidence from Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 2492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Hanel, Barbara & Riphahn, Regina T., 2012. "The timing of retirement — New evidence from Swiss female workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 718-728.
    4. Feld, Lars P. & Fischer, Justina A.V. & Kirchgaessner, Gebhard, 2007. "The Effect of Direct Democratic Institutions on Income Redistribution: Evidence for Switzerland," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 689, Stockholm School of Economics.
    5. Beatrice Scheubel & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 2752, CESifo Group Munich.

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