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date: 20 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In a number of countries – particularly the United States and the United Kingdom – voluntary employer-sponsored pensions play a major role in supplementing relatively modest pay-as-you-go public pensions. And in both of these countries the nature of these supplementary plans has changed dramatically, as coverage has shifted from defined benefit to defined contribution arrangements. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of alternative employer-sponsored pension schemes is useful for two reasons. First, in both the United States and the United Kingdom the shift to defined contribution plans has occurred against a backdrop of retrenchment of the relatively modest pay-as-you-go public social insurance programs, so it is important to determine the extent to which future retirees may be at risk. Second, many Continental European countries with generous pay-as-you-go public schemes have signalled an interest in moving some responsibility for retirement income to funded private plans, primarily using a defined contribution format, so it is helpful to learn what works and what does not.

Keywords: employer-sponsored plans, defined benefits, defined contribution, United States, United Kingdom, retirement income

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