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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article begins with the past – with the late nineteenth-century British debate – over the proper provision, nature of benefits, and funding of old-age pensions. This debate provides two important points of reference that should inform academic research. First, the size of the elderly population has changed dramatically. In the world's wealthiest economy at the turn of the twentieth century, those aged 65 years or older were only about 5 per cent of the population, compared to about 18 per cent in 2000, and 37 per cent forecast for 2050. Second, the British debate is the first instance where the theories and methods of social-science enquiry were put to use for policy purposes. The skills and experience of leading reformers, academics, and government officials informed the discussion about old-age pension provision. The article then works through issues related to the evolution of pension- and retirement-income provision over the twentieth century. Last, it reviews the components of the retirement-income system, beginning with PAYG (pay-as-you-go) social security (Pillar I), employer-sponsored supplementary schemes (Pillar II), and, finally, individual retirement products (Pillar III).

Keywords: pension income, retirement income, PAYG, pension provisions, social security, retirement products

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