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The New Pension Mix in Europe

Recent Reforms, Their Distributional Effects and Political Dynamics

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Edited By David Natali

This book – based on a research project carried out by the Observatoire Social Européen asbl, with the financial support of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) – looks at the most recent developments in pension policy and politics in Europe and advances our understanding of the field in three respects: firstly, it contributes to improve our knowledge of the most recent reform wave passed in the wake of the recent economic and financial crisis; secondly, it assesses the long-term financial and social sustainability of pensions; thirdly, it analyses the politics of pensions and the way policymakers and stakeholders interact in order to address the major challenges to pensions.

The evidence proposed by six country chapters (about Italy, France, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands and UK) and three more transversal chapters (about the role of the EU, that of trade unions in pension reforms, and the main challenges to pension systems in Europe) proves that pension systems have been altered in the wake of the recent crisis. The more evident changes have consisted of: the halt – at least in some countries – of the spread of private pension funds; the improvement in the financial viability of the systems paralleled by more evident risks for the future adequacy of pension benefits; and the alteration of pension politics with the risk of the progressive marginalisation of the trade union movement. In many countries, reforms have been passed without any major social concertation, while the European Union (EU) has had a more evident influence, especially in the countries hit most by the crisis. As a consequence of these trends, we see the emergence of a "new" pension mix in Europe, with new institutional settings, and new challenges.

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Italian Pensions from “Vices” to Challenges. Assessing Actuarial Multi-pillarization Twenty Years on (Matteo Jessoula / Michele Raitano)

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Italian Pensions from “Vices” to Challenges

Assessing Actuarial Multi-pillarization Twenty Years on

Matteo JESSOULA and Michele RAITANO*

Introduction

The development trajectory of the Italian pension system is prototypical of most Continental and South European countries: from Bismarckian origins to a fully-fledged single-pillar pension system after the Golden Age, up until the late transition to a still very incomplete multi-pillar architecture during the last two decades (Jessoula, 2009; 2012).

An early start was made with the introduction of compulsory public insurance against the risks of old age and disability for civil servants/public-sector employees (1864) and private-sector blue-collar workers (1919). In the 1950s and 1960s, pension expansion followed three main trajectories: (i) subsequent extension of compulsory insurance in order to include all professional categories – full coverage of the employed population was reached by the mid-1960s; (ii) a shift to an earnings-related system for private sector employees (1968) and the self-employed (1990); (iii) the introduction of both the minimum pension supplement (1952) and the social (assistance) pension (1969) to combine the traditional goal of income maintenance with the prevention of poverty.

While this trajectory was similar to that of other Bismarckian countries in Europe, the process in Italy took on peculiar traits. The expansionary reforms actually contributed to building a fully-fledged single-pillar pension system which presented remarkable regulatory differences between the various occupational categories, allowed to retire earlier ← 45 | 46 → than in most European countries (especially owing...

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