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

Expat pensioners hit by pound's fall

H. Wallop

The Daily Telegraph, Nov 18th, 2008, p.4

The one million British pensioners who live abroad will be hit hard by the plummeting value of the pound, likely to fall further. The pensioners in Europe who receive their pensions in sterling but have to pay their living costs in foreign currency will be hit the most; they have seen their average monthly pension fall by almost 200 Euro (169).

Improving the labour market incentives of Canada's public pensions

K. Milligan and T. Schirle

Canadian Public Policy, vol. 34, 2008, p. 281-303

The simulations in this paper attempt to demonstrate how Canada's public pension system generates disincentives for older workers to remain in the labour market. The simulations are performed for both single and married individuals of both sexes. They show how incentives to retire change when there is more versus less private pension income, when working-age earnings levels change, and when there are different levels of work interruptions in the earnings history. The largest work disincentives are generated by the means-tested Guaranteed Income Supplement, as it interacts with the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan and with earned income to give the least well-off a reduced financial return to working.

The poverty of liberalism: the first old age pensions in Australia

J. Murphy

Thesis Eleven, no. 95, 2008, p. 33-47

The two key social reforms that most contributed to the idea of an antipodean social laboratory at the end of the 19th century were the old age pension and state arbitration of the minimum wage. Both were initiated first in New Zealand and taken up, in different forms, in the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. Both have been said to owe much to the influence of the new liberalism informing late 19th century ideas about the ethical role of the state, with their legislative possibility being buttressed by the emergence of the labour movement into politics. However, this paper argues that debates on the old age pension at the turn of the 19th century illustrate a more tangled set of liberal trajectories than either a narrative of a unified Deakinite consensus, or of a new liberal importation, would allow.

Saving incentives, old-age provision and displacement effects: evidence from the recent German pension reform.

A. Borsch-Supan, A. Reil-Held and D. Schunk

Journal of Pension Economics & Finance, Vol. 7, 2008, p. 295 - 319.

Examines the uptake and success of voluntary but heavily subsidised private pension schemes which the German government has introduced as a response to population aging. The 'Riester pensions' are targeted at families and low-income households, and one of the things this article looks at is how successful the scheme has been among these groups.

When a solution becomes the problem: the causes of policy reversal on early exit from the labour force

M. Hartlapp and A. Kemmerling

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 18, 2008, p. 366-379

After three decades of expanding and encouraging early retirement, governments have begun to curtail schemes and to promote 'active ageing'. This article explores some of the reasons for this policy reversal, choosing an agency-based explanation focussing on two major actors: Christian Democrat governments and trade unions. It explores why, despite similarities in the two central actors in both countries, the Netherlands were not only earlier but also quicker to reverse their early retirement policies than Belgium.

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