Elsa Fornero Christina Benita Wilke

Pension policy in Europe and the United States – Towards a new public-private pension mix

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Pension reform has occupied and will continue to occupy – in the post Covid- 19 era – an important place in the welfare state reform agenda on both sides of the Atlantic. In this paper, we focus on countries of the EU-15 that nicely depict this transition to private pensions for the «old Europe» as well as the US. We first provide a theoretical overview of pension system types in general before we depict the main development and trends of public pension systems and policies in Europe and the US. We find that countries that do not already have a well-developed private pension sector can reap benefits by implementing policies and structural changes that foster the development of a private pension sector. In contrast, countries that already have a true mixed system, relying on both public and private pension elements, need to ensure that such systems continue to provide secure and adequate retirement benefits. The paper concludes with a discussion on selected public policy options in order to improve coverage and contributions, ensure active participation and portability and successfully manage benefit risks.


  • pension reform
  • Bismarck system
  • Beveridge system
  • public-private-pensionmix
  • occupational pensions


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