Public sector pensions: Rationale and international experiences
This paper is about public sector pensions, an issue that has become increasingly contentious in a number of countries in recent years, including in the United Kingdom. In the UK the public debate has focussed on the perceived generosity of these pensions, which, it is often claimed, contrasts with the pension promises made in the private sector. This paper does not attempt to answer whether public sector pension promises are relatively generous in the UK or elsewhere but instead aims to provide the bigger picture against which a discussion of public sector pension provision could be held. The origin of today’s public sector pensions can be traced back at least to Ancient Rome, which offered pensions to its military personnel. Pensions to public sector workers can also be traced back several centuries even though their provision remained on an ad-hoc basis for longer, while universal pension provision for all is a creation of the modern welfare state. The issue of public sector pensions is intrinsically linked to the role of the state in society. Beyond the provision of pure public goods such as defence, the role of the state varies widely across countries, for example in the provision (and funding) of health or long-term care. The role of the state has also changed over time, for example in the telecommunications sector, reflecting technological progress and ideological changes. In most countries working for the state comes with a number of privileges (e.g. job security) but also with certain responsibilities (e.g. relinquishing the right to strike). An international comparison reveals that in a number of countries the state is also a special employer in the sense that it offers more generous pensions than the private sector. This is, however, not the case in all countries. The paper argues that the government might pursue a number of objectives going beyond poverty alleviation by offering more generous pensions but also stresses that more generally the objectives of efficiency, equity and sustainability remain desirable even in the context of public sector pensions.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2009|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Düsternbrooker Weg 120, 24105 Kiel / Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg|
Phone: +49 431 8814-1
Fax: +49 431 8814-520
Web page: http://www.econstor.eu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- palacios, Robert & Whitehouse, Edward, 2006.
"Civil-service pension schemes around the world,"
Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes
90340, The World Bank.
- Palacios, Robert, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," MPRA Paper 14796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Laurent Paul & Christope Schalck, 2007. "Transfers to the government of public corporation pension liabilities: The French case study," MNB Conference Volume, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 1(1), pages 72-80, December.
- Blake, David, 2003. "Pension Schemes and Pension Funds in the United Kingdom," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199243532. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:54560. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.