Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen
Chapter 11: Raising the retirement age: retrenchment, feedback and attitudes
Life expectancy in western societies is increasing. A man of pensionable age living in an OECD country is expected to live, on average, a further18.5 years ñ compared to 16.2 years 20 years ago (OECD 2011). With increasing life expectancy people spend more time in retirement, provided the retirement age remains unchanged. As ageing populations challenge the sustainability of the pension system, an increase in the retirement age seems to be an inevitable reform alternative (OECD 2011). This step is however frequently met with great resistance. In this chapter I examine if and how attitudes towards increasing the retirement age have changed in recent years. Is the opposition to reform crumbling with rising reform pressures? And what are the effects of a reform that changes the legal retirement age? Moreover, do groups within societies react to these developments differently, and do we thus find increasing conflicts, for example between social classes? Or can we perhaps observe the emergence of new conflict lines, for example between the old and the young?
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