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Reforming Pensions; Myths, Truths, and Policy Choices


  • N. A. Barr


This paper discusses the strategic building blocks of pension reform. The early sections set out the simple economics of pensions and discuss a series of myths which have proved remarkably persistent. Subsequent sections draw together the conclusions for policy design from earlier theoretical discussion, set out the prerequisites which any pension reform must respect, and discuss the range of choices facing policymakers. The main conclusions are threefold: the key variable is effective government; from an economic perspective the difference between PAYG and funding is second order; and the range of potential choice over pension design is wide.

Suggested Citation

  • N. A. Barr, 2000. "Reforming Pensions; Myths, Truths, and Policy Choices," IMF Working Papers 00/139, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:00/139

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    Cited by:

    1. Whelan, Shane, 2007. "Valuing Ireland's Pension System," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2007(2-Summer), pages 55-80.
    2. Boena CHOVANCOVÁ & Jaroslav HUDCOVSKÝ, 2016. "Return-risk profile of Slovak pension funds," REVISTA ADMINISTRATIE SI MANAGEMENT PUBLIC, Faculty of Administration and Public Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 2016(27), pages 94-106, Decembre.
    3. Milonas, Nikolaos /T & Papachristou, George & Roupas, Theodor /A, 2010. "Pension Funds under Investments Constraints: An Assessment of the Opportunity Cost to the Greek Social Security System," MPRA Paper 36702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. No authors listed, 2016. "Überlegungen zur fairen und nachhaltigen Ausgestaltung eines Pensionskontensystems," Working Paper Reihe der AK Wien - Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 159, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik.
    5. Marek Loužek, 2007. "Pension Reform in the Czech Republic - A Contribution into the Debate," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2007(1), pages 55-69.
    6. Assar Lindbeck & Mats Persson, 2003. "The Gains from Pension Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 74-112, March.
    7. Heikki Oksanen, 2001. "A Case for Partial Funding of Pensions with an Application to the EU Candidate Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 466, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Nikita Cespedes, 2005. "Un Enfoque de Teoría de Juegos del Sistema Privado de Pensiones Peruano," Industrial Organization 0505002, EconWPA.
    9. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2003. "Ageing and Fiscal Imbalances Across Generations: Concepts of Measurement," CESifo Working Paper Series 842, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Michal Slavík, 2006. "The Czech Pension System and the Perspectives of Its Reform," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2006(3), pages 214-230.
    11. Maleva, T. & Sinyavskaya, O., 2010. "Pension Age Increase: Pro et Contra," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 8, pages 117-137.
    12. Bielawska, Kamila & Chłoń-Domińczak, Agnieszka & Stańko, Dariusz, 2017. "Retreat from mandatory pension funds in countries of the Eastern and Central Europe in result of financial and fiscal crisis: Causes, effects and recommendations for fiscal rules," MPRA Paper 83345, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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