IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The politics of automatic stabilization mechanisms in public pension programs

  • Weaver, Kent
Registered author(s):

    Demographic and fiscal pressures have increased pressures on governments in most wealthy countries to reduce the generosity of their public pension programs. Mechanisms that automatically adjust public pension levels to take account of factors such as increased life expectancy and slower economic growth are appealing to politicians because it saves them from having to take loss-imposing actions that are likely to incur political blame. This paper analyzes the financial and political potential of automatic stabilizing mechanisms (ASMs), beginning with a discussion of design issues and alternatives. This is followed by a discussion of potential adoption, implementation, and sustainability challenges for automatic stabilizing mechanisms and a review of experiences with stabilization mechanisms in three countries: Canada, Sweden and Germany. The paper argues that ASMs are vulnerable to erosion over time, especially when the losses that the ASM would impose are substantial, and when elections are impending. Preserving the integrity of ASMs is most likely where the parties that initially supported their adoption continue to be able to sustain cartel-like behavior with respect to pension policymaking. Overall, the analysis in this paper suggests that automatic stabilizing mechanisms are no panacea for the problems of countries facing serious long-term pension financing problems.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration with number SP I 2011-201.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbisi:spi2011201
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
    Phone: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 0
    Fax: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 684
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbisi:spi2011201. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.