Ugo Ascoli

The recent Occupational Welfare crisis in the United States. The increasing responsibility of the individual for social protection and the decline of Occupational Pensions in the US Private Sector

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Welfare Model; Retrenchment; Occupational Pensions; Retirement Income Crisis; Individual Responsibility.

The paper focuses mainly on two issues: a comparison between European and US welfare models and significant changes to the American occupational pensions system. Social scientists have been debating for a long time the differences between the United States and European welfare systems. The contrasting schools of thought were whether similarities or differences prevailed. The article argues that the range of variation among EU countries is larger than the differences between Europe and the United States on most empirical indicators. The United States seems located well within the confines of European systems. In the US there is a significant shift of economic risk from Government and the corporate sector onto ordinary Americans, based on enhanced individual responsibility and control. By analyzing trends in the US occupational pension system, the article shows how the shift in the Private Sector from Defined Benefit Plans to Defined Contribution Plans - above all (401)k plans - and the fall of Retirement plan Sponsorship will bring about a growing inequality among retirees and poverty risks for many American workers, requiring them to continue work.

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