The Changing Public–Private Pension Mix in Europe: From Path Dependence to Path Departure

Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Mareike Gronwald

in The Varieties of Pension Governance

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586028
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725586 | DOI:
The Changing Public–Private Pension Mix in Europe: From Path Dependence to Path Departure

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This chapter by Ebbinghaus and Gronwald provides a comparative historical analysis mapping the cross-national institutional diversity in the evolution of pension systems in ten European countries. Analysing the long-term development, it describes the way in which institutional arrangements in private pensions evolved over time and interact with public pension reforms. The process of institutional change is examined by analysing critical junctures in the public–private pension mix. First, the early legacy and path-dependent post-war dynamics in public pension development are sketched, contrasting Bismarckian social insurance and Beveridge basic pension traditions. The second juncture compares successful versus belated or even failed expansion of public pensions to secure living standards in old age, and its consequences for crowding out private pensions. Finally, the more recent pension reforms led towards a multipillar pension system, in some cases retrenchment of public pensions and privatization efforts are crowding in funded private pensions.

Keywords: Europe; institutional change; path dependence; pension reform; privatization; private pensions; Bismarckian social insurance; Beveridge basic pension; public–private mix; multipillar pension systems

Chapter.  12596 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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