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Ageing and Pension Reform Around the World

Edited by Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa

This book comprehensively documents developments in pension policy in eleven advanced industrial countries in Western Europe, East Asia and North America. In order to explore what population ageing means for the sustainability of pension systems, the authors present a detailed review of pension policy making over the past two decades and provide up-to-date analysis of current pension legislation. They examine the factors that can facilitate or impede the adaptation of pension systems and the features that shape and determine reforms. They also highlight the fact that although the path of reform taken by each country is somewhat different, the processes at work are often very similar.
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Chapter 1: Population Ageing and the Logics of Pension Reform in Western Europe, East Asia and North America

Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa


Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa INTRODUCTION Population ageing is a global phenomenon. According to currently available demographic projections virtually all countries in the world will see their population age structure get older over the next fives decades or so.1 The process is occurring at different speeds in different world regions and starts from different levels, but is affecting every country. The potential impact of demographic change on the age structure and the size of populations is dramatic. According to UN projections, the median age of the population is expected to increase by eight years in Japan between 2000 and 2050, from 41 to 49 years. In Italy the median age is expected to reach 53 years in 2050, and the proportion of those aged over 65 will exceed 35 per cent. In addition to ageing, countries will also experience population decline. The EU as a whole is expected, between 2000 and 2050, to lose 10 per cent of its population. Italy, currently a country of 57 million, will in 2050 have a population of only 41 million. The population of Germany, currently 82 million, is projected to decline to 70 million by 2050. These figures are impressive and the developments they point to will certainly influence several areas of social, political and economic life. They will also influence public policy, particularly those fields that are related to the population age structure of a country such as old age pensions. Growing proportions of older people means that younger generations will have...

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