Private Pensions and Public Policy: The Public–Private Divide Reappraised

Noel Whiteside

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

 Private Pensions and Public Policy: The Public–Private Divide Reappraised

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This article examines the assumptions on which the public–private division is based. In many respects, it might be argued that the debate over public versus private is irrelevant to the analysis of pension schemes and the current pension crisis. After all, in one way or another, the solution demands that we (collectively or singly) pay more and that future pensioners work longer or receive less. The following section shows how states, through the law, are deeply implicated in all market systems, which offer but one means of coordinating economic action. It is not possible to conceive of a market without rules, and the state, solely sovereign in this matter, governs market actions as much as it governs everything else. The second section of this article explores this proposition empirically and relates it to pension-policy developments in the decades following the Second World War. It outlines how governments adapted established private institutions (occupational and complementary pension systems) to public purposes in response to popular demand for higher pensions.

Keywords: private pension; public policy; public–private divide; pension schemes; pension crises; market system

Article.  7706 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Ethics

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