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What drives public acceptance of reforms? Longitudinal evidence from a Dutch pension reform

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  • Jante Parlevliet

    () (De Nederlandsche Bank
    University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

Abstract Governments often find it hard to pursue economic reforms, even if they eventually will benefit a majority of voters. The literature remains inconclusive about the reasons for this. Some scholars, on the one hand, stress the role of distributional conflicts between different classes, for instance dividing the young and the old in the case of pay-as-you-go pensions. Others have highlighted that resistance to reform is rather broad-based owing to the public’s poor understanding of the need for reform. This paper attempts to disentangle the drivers of public acceptance of reform by means of a case study: the 2012 increase of the Dutch statutory retirement age from 65 to 67. We exploit a unique longitudinal dataset on the attitudes of Dutch households respecting pension reform in the 2003–2013 period. Our findings offer various new insights. First, we find that education, occupational status and psychological traits were the most systematic drivers of reform preferences, while age had a limited impact. Second, and significantly, we find that the year fixed effects were the main drivers of respondents’ acceptance of reform. We interpret the pattern of the year coefficients as evidence of a collective learning process whereby households gradually updated their expectations and reform preferences in light of new information.

Suggested Citation

  • Jante Parlevliet, 2017. "What drives public acceptance of reforms? Longitudinal evidence from a Dutch pension reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 173(1), pages 1-23, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0447-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-017-0447-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0500-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:136-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2018:i:4:p:179-210 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension reform; Political economy; Public opinion; Information;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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