The History of Retirement

Pat Thane

in The Oxford Handbook of Pensions and Retirement Income

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780199272464
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 The History of Retirement

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The purpose of this article is to complement and offer a context by taking a longer-run view of occupational and state pensions and retirement. First, it takes further Sass's historical analysis of the development of employer pensions, locating their origins in the growing bureaucracies of pre-industrial European states in the eighteenth century. Like Sass, the author of this paper emphasizes the close relationship between economic change and employer pensions. The initial spurs to the growth of modern efficient bureaucracy were the growth of commerce and the prosecution and finance of war. Only later was industrialization a major factor. From the later nineteenth century, however, industrialization drove the spread of employer pensions through big business firms and among state employees. Since that time, employer pensions have become prominent in high- and medium-income economies in a complex variety of relationships with state pensions. The article then moves on to examine the other side of the relationship – state pensions – providing a more detailed account of their early history.

Keywords: state pensions; employer pensions; economic change; bureaucracy; industrialization; big business firms

Article.  8310 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Ethics ; Business History

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