Bridgen, Paul and Meyer, Traute
The politics of occupational pension reform in Britain and the Netherlands: the power of market discipline in liberal and corporatist regimes
West European Politics, 32, (3), . (doi:10.1080/01402380902779105).
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The politics of occupational pension reform has attracted less attention than state pension retrenchment. Yet, in countries with large occupational welfare sectors changes in company provision can be equally important for welfare system generosity. This paper compares recent occupational pension developments in the Netherlands and Britain, exemplars of coordinated and liberal capitalism. The paper argues that despite regime-typical differences in the nature and process of change, recent developments have also been remarkably similar. In both countries retrenchment and individualisation has left most citizens at risk of being less well off in retirement. Corporatist governance in the Netherlands has not challenged the overall orientation of this process, but has merely distributed the costs of retrenchment more fairly than liberal Britain. Instead, the constraints of the globalised financial market directed change: exposure to market discipline, reinforced by national policy actors and international market regulators, made occupational provision vulnerable to retrenchment regardless of regime type. Thus, the significance for levels of social protection of differences between liberal and corporatist governance models of occupational pensions may have been overrated.
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