Meyer, Traute, Bridgen, Paul and Riedmüller, Barbara (eds.)
Private pensions versus social inclusion? Non-state arrangements for citizens at risk in Europe,
Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, 272pp.
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Over the last decade a consensus amongst Western social policy-makers has emerged that welfare states need more private pension provision in order to master the challenges emerging through societal ageing. Yet, despite an almost universal shift towards greater private provision, there remain important or gaps in our knowledge about the implications of privatization, in particular for the protection of citizens without life-long, full-time employment biographies. The first problem is conceptual. Despite their prominence in political and academic debates, basic concepts, such as ‘private pensions’ and ‘privatisation’ remain shrouded by a good deal of ambiguity with important implications for their operationalisation in the analysis of social policy change. Secondly, comparative assessments that differentiate between private and public elements in pension regimes in terms of their contribution to social inclusion are rare. Thirdly, even though there is strong reliance on the private sector for pension provision in many countries and European societies seem to have reached a “point of no return” as far as governmental support for stronger public sectors is concerned, in the pensions literature the motives of non-state actors, i.e. private employers and individuals in engaging in private pension provision have been under-investigated. It is the objective of this book is to address these problems. To this end it will concentrate on the following main questions: - What is the nature of the public/private mix in each pension regime? - What pension levels can hypothetical ‘risk biographies’ on incomes below the average but above the poverty line expect under current conditions and what is the contribution of the private and the public sector for their pension outcomes? - Why do non state actors engage in pensions provision? - How do the policy-makers responsible for reform aim to address the main shortcomings of their regimes for ‘risk biographies’, given a strengthening of the public sector is not considered a viable option? - Is it possible to identify public/private pension mixes which successfully balance sustainability and inclusion? Contents of the book Chapter 1: Public-Private Pension Regimes – conceptual and empirical varieties (Bridgen/Meyer) (8,000 words) Chapter 2 - What chance for voluntarism? Assessing employers’, insurers’, trade unions’ and citizens’ interest in private pensions (Bridgen/Meyer) (5000 words) Chapters 3-7: Private Pensions and Social Inclusion - country case studies (Authors: Netherlands: Bannink/de Vroom; Switzerland: Bertozzi/Bonoli; United Kingdom: Bridgen/Meyer; Germany: Riedmüller/Willert; Italy: Calza Bini/Raitano; 10,000 words each) Chapter 8: Conclusion (Bridgen/Meyer, 10,000 words).
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