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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the origins, organization, and social consequences of mature pension systems in the developed welfare states. It also deals with the challenges posed to these systems by demographic, economic, and societal transformations occurring since the 1970s. The trajectories of reform, both actual and anticipated, are covered. Throughout, the focus is on the pension systems of the rich democracies of Western Europe, North America, and the Antipodes, with more selective attention being given to developments in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Pension systems are challenged by population aging and by changes to labour markets. Changing family structures also put stress on existing pension system arrangements. Adjustments of pension systems to the challenges of population aging, and labour market and family changes may be divided into parametric and structural reforms. It is noted that the expanded role for private, funded pensions that has developed in recent decades seems unlikely to be undone.

Keywords: mature pension systems, developed welfare states, parametric reforms, structural reform, population aging, labour markets, family structures

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