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Pensions in Europe, European Pensions

The Evolution of Pension Policy at National and Supranational Level


David Natali

Ce livre a reçu le prix de la Société italienne de science politique (SISP) comme meilleur bouquin en sciences politiques en Italie pour la période 2007-2008.
Pension policy represents in many respects the corner stone of the contemporary European welfare states. And its reform has emerged as a key issue in most of the European countries. This book aims at improving the knowledge of the long-term and more recent evolution of retirement programmes and their regulation at national and supranational level. It gives detailed information about pensions in nine Western and Eastern European countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and UK). In parallel it develops the study of the European Union action in the field, through regulation, the Stability and Growth Pact and the Open Method of Coordination.
What does history tell us about the evolution of pensions? Is it a story of stability or change? Is there any convergence between European pension models? And then what is the role of the European Union in the field?
This book provides answers to these questions and gives scholars, students and policy-makers a comprehensive description of national retirement programmes as well as theoretical analysis of the reform politics, output and outcomes with a focus on national and European dynamics.
‘Pensions in Europe, European Pensions’ represents a promising step beyond the more traditional comparative contributions, revealing the complex interaction of national and supranational institutions engaged in the most important welfare policy in the ageing European society.


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CHAPTER 2 The Emergence and Growth (to Limits) of Pension Systems in Europe 71


71 CHAPTER 2 The Emergence and Growth (to Limits) of Pension Systems in Europe Introduction Institutions matter: they tell us much about the past, present and future evolution of an individual policy. Hence the emergence and evolution of national pension systems provide useful background infor- mation for checking the influence of policy legacy on more recent innovations. The next pages will trace the long-term pension pathways and the key moments of their transformation. This helps to define the “state” (level of institutionalization) of national pensions when, at the end of the 20th century, the most recent critical juncture emerged. Section I briefly summarizes the emergence of nation-wide statutory schemes in both Western and Eastern Europe, between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It was at that time that the original divide between Bismarckian systems and the more universal Beveridgean models emerged. Section II focuses on the growth (to limits) of both clusters during the second part of the 20th century. That phase has seen the evolution of increasingly complex and expensive systems. The evolution of the Bismarckian path will be analyzed through the study of Belgium, France and Italy. The case of Poland, Estonia and Slovenia will prove the path- switch that characterized Central/Eastern Europe: from Bismarck to Communism. The Beveridgean path will show many variations. In the second part of the last century some of the countries under scrutiny (Sweden and Cyprus) did shift to the Bismarckian cluster (the so-called second generation of...

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