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Political economy and pensions in ageing societies – a note on how an ”impossible” reform was implemented in Sweden

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Abstract

Ageing puts a strain on most countries’ pension systems; forecasts show them to be more or less unsustainable. Evidence from social choice research, theoretical as well as empirical, does not seem to offer a way out of the dilemma, as the median voter will resist a reform. Despite this, Sweden has implemented a major reform, supposedly making the system sustainable. The question in this paper is thus: how was it possible to launch such a reform in Sweden? The analysis is based on majority voting models. Important explanatory factors are age structure as well as the age of the median voter; both of these go against the probability of a reform. A focus on age structure in combination with transitional rules and specific features of the reform may provide an explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Kruse, Agneta, 2005. "Political economy and pensions in ageing societies – a note on how an ”impossible” reform was implemented in Sweden," Working Papers 2005:35, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2005_035
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political economy; pension reform; median voter; age structure;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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