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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2006): Pensions - Overseas

R. Jones

Guardian, April 27th 2006, p. 26

Possibly the largest ever study of attitudes to retirement focuses on people’s definitions, the financing of this time of life and the age at which it is reached. Compulsory saving is found to be popular across all countries and age groups. The article provides some figures, mainly on definitions of retirement.

Do newly retired workers in the United States have sufficient resources to maintain well-being?

R. Haveman and others

Economic Inquiry, vol.44, 2006, p.249-264

A persistent policy concern regarding the elderly is the extent to which available resources at the time of retirement are sufficient to ensure economic well being during the remaining years of life. Social Security (state pension) benefits provide nearly all retired people in the US with a basic level of support, but additional resources in the shape of housing equity, savings and private pensions are necessary to fund anything more than a basic lifestyle. This research estimates the accumulated retirement savings of a sample of single people and married couples and the consumption implied over their remaining lifetimes. These consumption estimates are then compared to two alternative adequacy standards. Results show that about one-half of retirees have insufficient resources to fully maintain pre-retirement levels of consumption, and about 40% will have less than 70% of pre-retirement earnings to live on.

J. Barabas

Journal of Politics, vol.68, 2006, p.50-61

Findings of this study reveal that changes in the stock market affect public support for the privatisation of the US public pension system (Social Security). The first empirical analysis shows that an abrupt market decline in 1998 increased opposition to privatisation even after controlling for individual level factors. The second study documents a similar relationship over an eight year period as support for Social Security tracked changes in the stock market. Thus, the public adjusts its preferences for privatisation depending on the direction of domestic equity markets.

P. Yang and N. Barrett

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.95-109

According to a 1998 projection made by the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, the US social security system will go bankrupt in 2032 unless the programme is reformed. One of the options being discussed is privatisation. This study investigated public attitudes to the social security system using a unique sample of the 1998 US General Social Survey. The multivariate analysis revealed that sociostructural positions (race, gender, class) play a more important role than political predispositions in explaining differences in attitudes towards the current social security system and its privatisation.

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