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Life-Expectancy Risk and Pensions: Who Bears the Burden?

Listed author(s):
  • Edward R. Whitehouse


Two-thirds of pension reforms in OECD countries in the last 15 years contain measures that will automatically link future pensions to changes in life expectancy. This quiet revolution in pension policy means that the financial costs of longer lives will be shared between generations subject to a rule, rather than spreading the burden through potentially divisive political battles as happened in the past. As a result, nearly half of OECD countries - 13 out of 30 - now have an automatic link between pensions and life expectancy in their retirement-income systems, compared with only one country (Denmark) a decade ago. Indeed, the spread of this policy has a strong claim as the major innovation in pension policy in recent years. The link to life expectancy has been achieved in four different ways... Les deux tiers des réformes des systèmes de retraite dans les pays de l'OCDE ces 15 dernières années comportent des mesures prises pour indexer de manière automatique les futures retraites sur l'évolution de l?espérance de vie. Cette révolution qui s?opère tranquillement dans les politiques de pensions signifie que les coûts financiers engendrés par des vies plus longues seront partagés entre les générations en appliquant une règle plutôt que de répartir cette charge sous l'action de conflits politiques, tel que dans le passé. Par conséquent, près de la moitié des pays de l'OCDE - 13 sur 30 - ont maintenant des liens automatiques entre les pensions et l'espérance de vie dans leurs régimes de retraite, comparé à seulement un pays (Danemark) il y a dix ans. En effet, cette politique apparaît comme étant une des innovations plus importantes en matière de politiques de pensions ces dernières années. Le lien fait à l'espérance de vie a été réalisé de quatre manières différentes...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 60.

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Date of creation: 05 Oct 2007
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:60-en
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