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Individual Choice in Social Protection: The Case of Swiss Pensions


  • Monika Queisser
  • Edward Whitehouse


In most OECD countries, the structure of the pension system does not give much potential for individual choice. The Swiss pension system is a particularly interesting case in this respect. Switzerland relies heavily on privately-managed, fully-funded pensions, which employers are obliged to provide. The employees have only a very limited range of individual choice within this system and there has been increasing political pressure to give members more control over their benefits. More choice would increase competition among funds, lead to higher returns on investment of pension funds, improve customer services and result in higher member satisfaction due to more tailored benefit packages. This paper examines the choices currently available to members of occupational pension schemes in Switzerland and how they are making use of these options. It goes on to consider which expansions in choice might be desirable and what obstacles may be in the way of such changes. A particular ... Dans la plupart des pays de l'OCDE, la structure du système de pensions ne laisse pas une grande marge de manoeuvre aux individus. Le système de pensions suisse est particulièrement intéressant à cet égard. La Suisse s'appuie largement sur des pensions à gestion privée, entièrement capitalisées, que les employeurs sont tenus de mettre en place. Les salariés n'ont que des possibilités de choix très limitées dans ce système et les pressions politiques se font de plus en plus vives pour que l'on donne un plus large pouvoir de contrôle aux membres sur leurs prestations. Une plus grande liberté de choix augmenterait la concurrence entre les fonds de pension, conduirait à un meilleur rendement sur les investissements des fonds, améliorerait le service rendu au consommateur et se traduirait par une satisfaction accrue des membres du fait que l'offre de prestations serait mieux adaptée à la situation de chacun. Ce document examine les choix actuellement accessibles aux membres des ...

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Queisser & Edward Whitehouse, 2003. "Individual Choice in Social Protection: The Case of Swiss Pensions," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 11, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:11-en
    DOI: 10.1787/717846424625

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    Cited by:

    1. Opielka, Michael, 2008. "Grundeinkommen als umfassende Sozialreform: Zur Systematik und Finanzierbarkeit am Beispiel des Vorschlags Solidarisches Bürgergeld," Edition HWWI: Chapters, in: Straubhaar, Thomas (ed.),Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen und Solidarisches Bürgergeld - mehr als sozialutopische Konzepte, volume 1, pages 129-175, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    2. Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli, 2010. "Payouts in Switzerland: Explaining Developments in Annuitization," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions


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