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Whither Systemic Reform? A Critical Review of the Literature on the Distributional and Income Adequacy Effects of Systemic Pension Reforms


  • Marianne A. Ferber

    () (Department of Economics, University of Illinois)

  • Patricia Simpson

    (Institute of Human Resources and Employment Relations, School of Business Administration, Loyola University Chicago, 304 E. Madison, Philo, IL 61864, USA)


What is the relationship between the introduction of defined-contribution accounts into public pension systems and changes in elderly poverty and income inequality? The present study examines the current state of knowledge with regard to these relationships. The study is divided into four parts: 1) an overview of data indicating that elderly poverty began to rise at least in developed economies in recent years; 2) a discussion of a body of conceptual and empirical studies that suggests defined-contribution accounts will adversely impact elderly poverty and income inequality; 3) a review of confounding factors that make it difficult to project the direction of such relationships; 4) suggestions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne A. Ferber & Patricia Simpson, 2009. "Whither Systemic Reform? A Critical Review of the Literature on the Distributional and Income Adequacy Effects of Systemic Pension Reforms," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 20(3), pages 254-276.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2009_3_ferber

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    pay-as-you-go (PAYG); defined-benefits accounts; defined-contribution accounts; parametric reforms; systemic reform;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation


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