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Entitlement Reforms in Europe: Policy Mixes in the Current Pension Reform Process

  • Axel H. Börsch-Supan
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    Many European countries have begun (or have announced) programs intended to reduce the growth of entitlement programs, in particular of public pensions. Current costs are high, and the pressures will increase due to population aging and negative incentive effects. This paper focuses on the pension reform process in Europe. It links the causes for current problems to the cures required to make the pay-as-you-go entitlement programs in Continental Europe sustainable above and beyond the financial crisis. It discusses examples which appear, from a current point of view, to be the most viable and effective options to bring entitlement systems closer to fiscal balance and still achieve their key aims. There is no single policy prescription that can solve all problems at once. Reform elements include a freeze in the contribution and tax rates, an indexation of benefits to the dependency ratio, measures to stop the current trend towards early retirement, an adaptation of the normal retirement age to increased life expectancy, and more reliance on private savings - elements of a sustainable but complex multipillar system of pensions and similar entitlement programs.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18009.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18009.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2012
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    Publication status: published as Entitlement Reforms in Europe: Policy Mixes in the Current Pension Reform Process , Axel H. Börsch-Supan. in Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis , Alesina and Giavazzi. 2013
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18009
    Note: AG PE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Thai-Thanh Dang & Pablo Antolín & Howard Oxley, 2001. "Fiscal Implications of Ageing: Projections of Age-Related Spending," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 305, OECD Publishing.
    2. Ignazio Visco & Barry Eichengreen & Gilles Mourre & Declan Costello & Giuseppe Carone & Nuria Diez Guardia & Bartosz Przywara & Aino Salomäki & Vincenzo Galasso & Mark Weth & Sebastian Schich & Etienn, 2007. "Money, Finance and Demography: The Consequences of Ageing," SUERF Colloquium Volumes, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 1 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Frank Lierman, March.
    3. Martin Werding & Herbert Hofmann, 2008. "Projektionen zur langfristigen Tragfähigkeit der öffentlichen Finanzen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 30, September.
    4. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-78, May.
    5. Fabrizio Balassone & Jorge Cunha & Geert Langenus & Bernhard Manzke & Jeanne Pavot & Doris Prammer & Pietro Tommasino, 2009. "Fiscal sustainability and policy implications for the euro area," Working Paper Research 155, National Bank of Belgium.
    6. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "Incentive effects of social security on labor force participation: evidence in Germany and across Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 25-49, October.
    7. Axel Börsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel, 2010. "Early Retirement and Employment of the Young in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: The Relationship to Youth Employment, pages 147-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
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