Pension policy design changes in EU countries since the mid-1990s (2015)

Aaron G Grech


Recent decades have been characterised by significant pension reforms. This article reviews this process, focusing on five policy design issues that have concerned policymakers: optimising poverty alleviation effectiveness; redefining the state's role in smoothing incomes over the life-course; balancing contributions to benefits; adjusting the system to respond to demographic, economic and social changes; and ensuring that reforms will be long-lasting. While the role of state pensions is diminishing, there is a growing realisation of the need to ensure that they remain adequate, reigniting interest in minimum pensions and contribution credits. The expanding role of private pensions has led governments to intervene more in their operation. Policymakers have shown interest in automatic adjustment mechanisms to bring about required economic changes. However, there is greater understanding that for these to happen, the state has to engage more with its citizens.

International Journal of Social Welfare (2015),Volume 24, Issue 3, pp. 296-304, DOI: 10.1111/ijsw.12138