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The Political Feasibility of Increasing Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on Female Retirement Age

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  • Monika BÜTLER

Abstract

In 1998, the Swiss voters approved of an increase in female retirement age from 62 to 64. The referendum, being on a single issue only, offers a unique opportunity to explore the political feasibility of pension reforms and to apply theoretical models of life-cycle decision making. Estimates carried out with municipality data suggest that the outcome of the vote conforms relatively well with predictions drawn from a theoretical simulation study. There are, however, surprising gender differences even in married couples. Young agents, married middle-aged and all elderly men favor an increase in female retirement age, while middle-aged and elderly women strongly oppose it. Richer communities and those with a high proportion of self-employed or a low fraction of blue-collar workers are more likely to opt for a higher retirement age. Ideological preferences and regional differences also play a considerable role.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika BÜTLER, 2000. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on Female Retirement Age," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 00.27, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:00.27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Congleton, Roger D & Shughart, William F, II, 1990. "The Growth of Social Security: Electoral Push or Political Pull?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 109-132, January.
    2. Breyer, Friedrich & Craig, Ben, 1997. "Voting on social security: Evidence from OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 705-724, December.
    3. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-388, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Casper van Ewijk & Erik Canton & Paul Tang, 2004. "Ageing and international capital flows," CPB Document 43, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social security reforms; (female) retirement age; life-cycle decision making;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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