Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Arbetsrapport,
Institute for Futures Studies

No 2006:10: Three routes to a pension reform. Politics and institutions in reforming pensions in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Olli Kangas (), Urban Lundberg () and Niels Ploug ()
Additional contact information
Olli Kangas: the Danish National Institute for Social Research, Postal: Herluf Trollesgade 11, DK-1052 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Urban Lundberg: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Niels Ploug: the Danish National Institute for Social Research, Postal: Herluf Trollesgade 11, DK-1052 Copenhagen K, Denmark

Abstract: By analysing pension reforms in three Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland and Sweden that apply different institutional solutions in their old-age security programmes – the paper argues that the political processes that shaped the country-specific pension set-ups in the 1950s and 1960s had important ramifications for the subsequent possibilities to reform these schemes. There is a high degree of inertia both in institutions and in the political reform options. Thus, the analysis shows that the ‘new politics’ were not so new in any of the countries. Furthermore, the three cases accentuate the question: What is a pension reform? The Swedish reform in the late 1990s was ‘big bang’ where everything was changed, the Finns build on piecemeal reforms that gradually changed the whole system, while on the surface, the Danish story is about stability and status quo. However, the Danish policy ‘drift’ changed the basic characteristics of the system in the end.

Keywords: pension reform; Nordic countries

JEL-codes: J14; J26

46 pages, September 2006

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 13: 978-91-89655-94-2; ISBN 10: 91-89655-94-X

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