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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2008): Pensions - overseas

The fading dream of retirement: social and financial considerations affecting the retirement decision

J. Markert

Sociological Spectrum, vol. 28, 2008, p. 213-233

Many of the Baby Boom generation (1946-1965) in the USA see it as their right to retire from work in their early to mid-sixties. This is unlikely to happen due to:

  1. rises in the age of eligibility for the state pension
  2. the fact that many have not accumulated sufficient resources over the life course to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement
  3. the hope that remaining in work would combat the social isolation and loneliness facing many elderly people following the disintegration of the traditional extended family.

Pension reforms in France: the role of trade unions and the timing of the electoral cycle

E. da Conceição-Heldt

Policy Studies, vol. 29, 2008, p. 19-34

Even governments supported by a large Parliamentary majority have had difficulty in moving pension reform from the political agenda into legislation. This article asserts that attempts to reform the popular pension system are subject to veto by powerful and politically organised trade unions, with which governments will not risk conflict. It is also demonstrated that governments are more likely to pass legislation implementing unpopular reforms early in their mandates, since they enjoy greater freedom of legislative manoeuvre during the first two and a half years of a legislative parliament.

Social security programs and retirement around the world: fiscal implications of reform

J. Gruber and D. A. Wise (editors)

London: University of Chicago, 2007

The future of retirement pensions is troubled, both in the United States and in most other developed countries with aging populations. As improvements in health care and changes in life styles enable retirees to live longer than ever before, the stress on national budgets will increase substantially. In this book, experts in many countries examine the consequences of reforming retirement benefits in a dozen nations. Drawing on the work of an international group of economists, the book argues that pension programmes provide strong incentives for workers to leave the labour force by retiring and taking the benefits to which they are entitled. By penalizing work, pension systems magnify the increased financial burden caused by aging populations, thus contributing to the insolvency of the system.

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