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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2010): Pensions - overseas

Can private pensions be trusted? A cross-national review

M. Hyde and J. Dixon

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 37, 2010, p. 276-292

Pensions require trust, but according to several commentators trust in pension institutions has decreased substantially in recent years. Private pensions are regarded as more untrustworthy than statutory pensions which are universal, redistributive and which promote social solidarity. The authors challenge this position and argue that a reliance on private sector provision is not incompatible with trust in retirement provision. Its trust-enhancing potential is exemplified by the design of mandated private pensions in Switzerland and the UK.

How to avoid a pension crisis: a question of intelligent system design

A. Cigno

CESifo Economic Studies, vol. 56, 2010, p. 21-37

There is a consensus that public expenditure on pensions has risen over time and across countries partly because fertility has fallen. This is because, in much of the industrialised world, the state has taken over from the family as the main source of old-age support. In order to tackle this problem, this article proposes a public pension system made up of two parallel schemes, a Bismarckian scheme which allows individuals to qualify for a pension by working and paying contributions in the usual way, and an unconventional one which allows them to qualify for a pension by having children and investing time and money in their upbringing.

Personal provision of retirement income: meeting the needs of older people?

J. Stewart and G. Hughes (editors)

Cheltenham: Elgar, 2009

In response to demographic change many countries in the European Union have reformed their pension systems. During the last two decades personal pensions have been introduced in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the UK. This book is a critical examination of the objectives of personal pensions in these countries and the use of tax incentives to encourage individuals to save for their retirement. It also includes discussion on personal pensions in the United States. The volume focuses on issues such as risk, administrative expense, and the role of tax allowances in encouraging personal pension provision. Based on the evidence from these countries it is concluded that expectations relating to the take up of personal pensions have not been met and that EU countries should not rely on personal pensions to improve income adequacy at the lower end of the income distribution.

Social security for China's rural aged: a proposal based on a universal non-contributory pension

Y. Yang, J.B. Williamson and C. Shen

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.19, 2010, p. 236-245

The limited coverage of China's current rural pension system means that the vast majority of rural residents are neither contributing to, nor eligible for benefits from, any form of old age pension scheme. Based on an analysis of what has been tried in other countries and the current situation in rural China, the authors propose that a universal non-contributory old-age pension scheme for rural elders should be considered. It would reduce the level of poverty in rural areas and the degree of income inequality between rural and urban areas, while also promoting social and political stability.

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