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Pension reform in Britain

  • Whitehouse, Edward

This paper examines the evolution of the pension system in Britain. In particular, it focuses on the shift from pay-as-you-go, state-run defined-benefit pensions to individual, private-sector, funded defined-contribution accounts. It looks at three issues in this reform: the financing of the transition from pay-as-you-go to funded provision; the fiscal impact of voluntary switching and adverse selection; and the question of the degree to which personal pension accounts were'over-sold'to individuals for whom they were not suitable. The paper examines recent reform proposals and the prospects for reform under the new Labor government elected last year. It concludes that the British system has avoided a future financial crisis arising from the demographic transition, but that problems of incentives and retirement-income adequacy remain.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 20053.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:20053
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  1. Richard Disney & Edward Whitehouse, 1994. "Choice of private pension plan and pension benefits in the UK," IFS Working Papers W94/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1993. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," IFS Working Papers W93/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Peacock, Alan, 1992. "The Credibility of Economic Advice to Government," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1213-22, September.
  4. Edward Whitehouse, 1990. "The abolition of the pensions 'earnings rule'," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 11(3), pages 55-70, August.
  5. Richard Disney & Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1994. "Retirement behaviour in Britain," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 24-43, February.
  6. R. Hemming & J. A. Kay, 1981. "Contracting out of the state earnings related pension scheme," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 2(3), pages 20-28, November.
  7. Richard Disney & Edward Whitehouse, 1992. "Personal pensions and the review of the contracting-out terms," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 38-53, February.
  8. Dilnot, Andrew & Disney, Richard & Johnson, Paul & Whitehouse, Edward, 1994. "Pensions policy in the UK: An economic analysis," MPRA Paper 10478, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. John Creedy & Richard Disney, 1988. "The new pension scheme in Britain," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 57-71, May.
  10. Andrew Dilnot & Richard Disney, 1989. "Pensions Schemes after the 1989 Budget," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 10(3), pages 34-49, August.
  11. Richard Disney, 1995. "Occupational pension schemes: prospects and reforms in the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 16(3), pages 19-39, September.
  12. Richard Disney & Edward Whitehouse, 1994. "What are pension plan entitlements worth in Britain?," IFS Working Papers W94/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Andrew Dilnot & Paul Johnson, 1993. "Tax expenditures: the case of occupational pensions," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 42-56, February.
  14. Richard Disney & Edward Whitehouse, 1991. "How should pensions in the UK be indexed?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 47-61, August.
  15. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1992. "The personal pensions stampede," MPRA Paper 10476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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