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Two Decades of Pension Reform: What has been Achieved and What Remains to be Done?

  • Edward Whitehouse

    (OECD, rue André Pascal 2, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France)

  • Anna D'Addio

    (OECD, rue André Pascal 2, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France)

  • Rafal Chomik

    (OECD, rue André Pascal 2, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France)

  • Andrew Reilly

    (OECD, rue André Pascal 2, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France)

The past two decades have seen a wave of reforms to retirement income systems around the world. This paper describes the reform packages that have taken place in 38 industrialised economies, some of them involving incremental changes to existing provision, others, an overhaul of the entire retirement income system. The changes had many objectives. First, improved coverage of the pension system, especially of voluntary private pensions, was a common goal. Second, some reforms aimed to improve the adequacy of retirement benefits to combat old age poverty. Third, the pressure of population ageing and the maturing of pension schemes meant that fiscal sustainability of public pensions – primarily through reductions in future benefits – were very common. Often, the improvement to long-term finances will be achieved through encouraging people to work longer, through increases in pension eligibility ages and adjustments to pension incentives to retire. Finally, some reforms aimed at streamlining the administration of retirement income provisions and to improve the security of benefits in the face of different risks and uncertainties.

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Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & The Geneva Association in its journal The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Issues and Practice.

Volume (Year): 34 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 515-535

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Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:34:y:2009:i:4:p:515-535
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