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Rethinking the Welfare State

The Political Economy of Pension Reform

Edited by Martin Rein and Winfried Schmähl

In this book a distinguished group of contributors discuss the changing political economy of pension reform. They focus on those countries which have launched a significant reframing of their pension system. Each chapter provides a detailed review of recent pension reforms and offers institutional evidence of the extent to which these reforms suggest a redirection of the welfare state towards a more public-private mix of policies. The countries were selected to represent the variety of new directions which mature industrial countries as well as countries in transition have taken.
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Chapter 15: The Public–Private Mix of Retirement Income in Nine OECD Countries: Some Evidence from Micro Data and an Exploration of its Implications

Bernard H. Casey and Atsuhiro Yamada


Bernard H. Casey and Atsuhiro Yamada Over the past three decades, the wellbeing of people over retirement age has improved, not only absolutely but also relatively.1 Being old is no longer synonymous with being poor. This improvement has occurred across almost all of the main OECD countries, and has occurred almost regardless of the type of pension system that is operating in the country concerned. This chapter seeks to illustrate the importance or otherwise of the nature of the public–private mix in incomes in old age both in producing this improvement in wellbeing and in leading to differences in the level of wellbeing enjoyed by different types of person. It draws from a number of studies undertaken at the Social Policy Division of the OECD in the course of 2000 and 2001, many of which have been reported upon in OECD (2001) and Yamada and Casey (2002). The findings presented and discussed here are drawn, largely, from special analyses of the ‘Luxembourg Income Study’ (LIS). This brings together, on a standardized basis, the income and expenditure surveys of some 25 countries. The OECD’s study was limited to nine countries: Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. All bar the last of these participate in LIS. Data protection laws prevent Japan contributing, but it was possible to gain access to special tabulations from an equivalent Japanese data set.2 The LIS and other data were used to provide descriptions of the...

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