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

  • Monika BÜTLER

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.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 00.27.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Tax and Public Finance, vol. 9, 2002, pp. 349-365
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:00.27
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.64
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. 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.
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