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Active Citizens and Retirement Planning: Enlarging Freedom of Choice in the Course of Pension Reforms in Nordic Countries and Germany

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  • Hinrichs, Karl

Abstract

One feature of recent pension reforms in OECD countries has been that more individual responsibility is transferred to employees and in particular to those approaching the end of their working life. Enlarged freedom of choice concerns the timing of retirement with corresponding consequences for the level of public pensions as well as the participation in supplementary pension schemes and subsequent decisions about investment of savings, take out of benefits etc. Within such changed framework individual retirement planning becomes more complex and risky. Starting from the question why the government is in the "pension business" at all, the paper explores the reasons (and the extent) of enlarging freedom of choice in four countries where major pension reforms have recently taken place (Finland, Germany, Sweden) or are entering the agenda (Norway). The risks of increased self-responsibility with regard to provision for old age are analyzed in general, and the concrete policy changes are evaluated comparatively in view of respective institutional legacies and current challenges and conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Hinrichs, Karl, 2004. "Active Citizens and Retirement Planning: Enlarging Freedom of Choice in the Course of Pension Reforms in Nordic Countries and Germany," Working papers of the ZeS 11/2004, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeswps:112004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bodie, Zvi, 1990. "Pensions as Retirement Income Insurance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 28-49, March.
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    3. Assar Lindbeck & Mats Persson, 2003. "The Gains from Pension Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 74-112, March.
    4. Blake, David, 2001. "The United Kingdom Pension System: Key Issues," Discussion Paper 15, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2003. "Imputed Rent and Income Inequality: A Decomposition Analysis for Great Britain, West Germany and the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 513-537, December.
    6. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2000. "How Should We Insure Longevity Risk In Pensions And Social Security?," Issues in Brief ib-4, Center for Retirement Research.
    7. Jens Lundsgaard, 2002. "Competition and Efficiency in Publicly Funded Services," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 331, OECD Publishing.
    8. Engstr M, Stefan & Westerberg, Anna, 2003. "Which individuals make active investment decisions in the new Swedish pension system?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 225-245, November.
    9. John, Susan St. & Willmore, Larry, 2001. "Two Legs are Better than Three: New Zealand as a Model for Old Age Pensions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1291-1305, August.
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