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Pensions in Europe, European Pensions

The Evolution of Pension Policy at National and Supranational Level

Series:

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 4 Last Wave of Pension Reforms. The Case of Eastern European Countries 147

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147 CHAPTER 4 Last Wave of Pension Reforms The Case of Eastern European Countries Introduction The previous chapter focused on the recent evolution of pension systems in Western Europe. A detailed analysis of the challenges, con- straints and institutional settings involved contributed to an improved understanding of the dynamics of reform peculiar to that group of countries and helped disentangle differences within it. The following pages look at pension reforms in Eastern European countries. The first section summarizes the key traits of the latest reforms in post-Communist countries. A comparative analysis of Poland, Estonia and Slovenia will identify some broad similarities, together with important differences in both challenges and policy decisions. The following study will disentangle a two-step reform process. The first phase between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s provides evidence of a rapid path-switch in Poland. Instruments consis- tent with the Bismarckian roots of the system were activated to increase public protection against old-age risks. Due to the fast growth of spending, the second step at the end of the 20th century was then consistent with the introduction of new tiers and pillars and partial privatization of the public system. Estonia followed a similar trajectory: the first phase was based on a rapid increase in total spending mainly determined by the growing number of pensioners (while benefits did not increase in parallel). Yet from a more institutional point of view, the system shifted first to the provision of a basic safety net and...

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