OECD Pensions at a Glance

Frequency :
Biennial
ISSN :
1999-1363 (online)
ISSN :
1995-4026 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/19991363
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OECD’s biennial report on pension systems across OECD countries. Each edition opens with an overview comparing pension policies of OECD countries and the role of reforms and private pensions. This is followed by a series of country reports analyzing the situation in each OECD country.

Also available in: French, German
 
OECD Pensions at a Glance 2005

OECD Pensions at a Glance 2005

Public Policies across OECD Countries You or your institution have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
02 May 2005
Pages :
204
ISBN :
9789264018723 (PDF) ; 9789264018716 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/pension_glance-2005-en

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The first comprehensive book of its kind, this comparison of key features of pension systems of OECD countries provides coverage of retirement ages, benefit accrual rates, ceilings, and indexation.  Future pension entitlements are shown for full-career workers at different earnings levels. Indicators measure redistribution in pension systems, the cost of countries' pension promises, and potential resource transfer. Thirty country chapters explain pension systems and replacement rates in detail.

"Pensions at a Glance is a significant undertaking and a major contribution to the body of comparative international pensions literature. The publication will serve as an important resource to those in the pensions policy community."

--Ladan Manteghi, AARP Global Aging Program

"This book is a valuable reference for policymakers, academics, and business people concerned about retirement systems in the developed world."

--Olivia S. Mitchell, Executive Director, Pension Research Council,
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"The massive OECD report, Pensions at a Glance, deserves much more than a glance.  It is compendium of facts and analyses that should inform policy-making and public debate around the world for years to come.  By providing in clear and easy-to-understand form a wealth of information about pension systems throughout the OECD, it will make it much harder for even the most insular to ignore the valuable lessons to be learned from the pension experience of other nations."

--Henry J. Aaron
The Brookings Institution

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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/executive-summary_pension_glance-2005-2-en
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    Executive Summary
    Recent years have seen a wave of pension reforms across OECD countries. These changes were motivated primarily by concerns about the financial sustainability of pension systems in the context of ageing populations. An in-depth look at pension systems reveals complex structures and rules, which make it difficult to compare retirement-income regimes. Nevertheless, sharing experience of pension reform and its impact provides valuable information for policy makers...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec003.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/pension-system-typology_pension_glance-2005-3-en
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    Pension-system Typology
    There have been numerous typologies of retirement-income systems. The terminology used in these categorisations has become very confusing. Perhaps the most commonlyused typology is the World Bank’s "three-pillar" classification (World Bank, 1994), between "a publicly managed system with mandatory participation and the limited goal of reducing poverty among the old  [first pillar]; a privately managed mandatory savings system [second pillar]; and voluntary savings [third pillar]". But this is a prescriptive rather than a descriptive typology. Subsequent analysts have allocated all public pension programmes to the first pillar. This has included earnings-related public schemes, which certainly do not meet the original definition of the first pillar. The most recent addition is the concept of a "zero pillar", comprising non-contributory schemes aimed at alleviating poverty among older people. But this is rather closer to the original description of a first pillar...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec004.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/comparing-pension-system-parameters_pension_glance-2005-4-en
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    Comparing Pension-system Parameters
    The main features of OECD member countries’ pension systems are summarised in Table 2.1. This follows the typology of the previous chapter (Table 1.1), dividing the pension system into two tiers. The summary necessarily leaves out much of the institutional details. More complete descriptions are provided in the country studies...
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/modelling-pension-entitlements_pension_glance-2005-5-en
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    Modelling Pension Entitlements
    This report adopts a "microeconomic" approach to comparing retirement-income systems, looking at prospective individual entitlements under all 30 of OECD member countries’ pension regimes. These microeconomic techniques were first developed for the retirement-income reviews of nine OECD countries (OECD, 2001)...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec006.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/replacement-rates_pension_glance-2005-6-en
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    Replacement Rates
    This chapter shows gross and net pension replacement rates for the 30 OECD countries. For each country replacement rates are shown for people with different levels of earnings. Detailed results are shown in the country studies...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec007.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/relative-pension-levels_pension_glance-2005-7-en
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    Relative Pension Levels
    The relative pension level is the individual pension divided by economy-wide average earnings, rather than by individual earnings as in the replacement-rate results in the previous chapter. Figure 5.1 shows relative pension levels in OECD member countries on the vertical axis and individual pre-retirement earnings on the horizontal. Countries have been grouped by the degree to which pension benefits are related (or not) to individual pre-retirement earnings...
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/pension-wealth_pension_glance-2005-8-en
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    Pension Wealth
    The replacement rates and relative pension levels discussed above give a first indication of the magnitude of the pension promise, but they are not comprehensive measures. For a full picture, it is necessary to take account of life expectancy, retirement ages and the indexation of pension benefits. These determine for how long the pension benefit must be paid and how its value evolves over time. To compare countries’ different provisions, the pension entitlement at retirement is converted into a value of pension "wealth" using standard actuarial techniques. For each country, the present value of future pension payments is calculated, using a uniform discount rate of 2% and country-specific life expectancy. Since the comparisons refer to prospective pension entitlements, the calculations use national life expectancies as projected for the year 2040...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec009.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/key-indicators_pension_glance-2005-9-en
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    Key Indicators
    Building on the results for replacement rates and pension levels across the range of individual earnings, it is possible to develop indicators to address further policy questions in pensions. How much will today’s pension promises cost in the future? How much of that cost will be met by the public and private sectors? Answers to these questions require composite indicators of pension systems that aggregate the results for workers at different earnings levels that were presented in Chapters 4 to 6...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec010.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/annex-i-1-differences-between-defined-benefit-points-and-notional-accounts_pension_glance-2005-10-en
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    Annex I.1. Differences between Defined-benefit, Points and Notional-accounts
    This report has grouped together publicly provided, earnings-related pension schemes of three broad types. This annex provides a brief analysis of the difference between these three different programmes using some basic algebra...
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    Annex I.2. Sensitivity Analyses
    Six OECD member countries have defined-contribution (DC) pensions. Pension entitlements in DC schemes depend crucially on the rate of return earned by the contributions when they are invested. The baseline assumption of the modelling is that the real return earned by DC pensions is 3.5% per year. This is a relatively conservative assumption by historical, empirical standards. Between 1984 and 1996, real rates of return of pension funds in eight OECD countries averaged 8% per year (OECD, 1998, Table V.3)...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec012.pdf
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    Annex I.3. Progressivity of Pension Benefit Formulae
    The charts in Figure 5.1 of Chapter 5 show how the pattern of pension entitlements varies with earnings for different countries. This illustrates the very different philosophies of different pension systems, particularly in their relative emphasis on the insurance and redistributive roles of pension systems. The allocation of countries to six groups (Figures 5.1A to 5.1F) depends on the strength of the link between pre-retirement earnings and post-retirement pension entitlements. It is based on a single summary indicator, the calculation methodology and results of which are presented here...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec013.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/country-studies-introduction_pension_glance-2005-13-en
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    Country Studies: Introduction
    The country studies follow a standard schema. First, there is a detailed description of the rules and parameters of the pension schemes:
    œ Qualifying conditions: pension eligibility (or gretirementh) age and years of contributions required to receive a pension.
    œ Benefit calculation: the rules for each schemes making up the pension system, such as earnings-related schemes, mandatory private plans and resource-tested schemes.
    œ Treatment of pensioners under the personal income tax and social security contributions, including any reliefs for pension income.
    œ Economic variables: the earnings of the average production worker in local currency and, using the market and the purchasing-power-parity exchange rates shown, converted into US dollars.
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    Australia
    Australia’s pension system has two components: a means-tested age pension plus the superannuation guarantee, a compulsory contribution to a private pension plan. These plans are mainly defined contribution...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec015.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/austria_pension_glance-2005-15-en
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    Austria
    A defined-benefit public scheme with an income-tested top-up for low-income pensioners....
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec016.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/belgium_pension_glance-2005-16-en
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    Belgium
    An earnings-related public scheme with a minimum pension and a means-tested safety net...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec017.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/canada_pension_glance-2005-17-en
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    Canada
    A universal, flat-rate pension, known as old-age security, can be topped up with an income-tested benefit, known as the guaranteed income supplement. A tier of earnings-related benefits is known as the Canada Pension Plan/Québec Pension Plan. These two plans offer broadly similar benefits...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec018.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/czech-republic_pension_glance-2005-18-en
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    Czech Republic
    The public scheme has a basic element and an earnings-related part calculated according to a progressive formula. There is also a minimum pension in this programme...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec019.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/denmark_pension_glance-2005-19-en
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    Denmark
    There is a public basic scheme with an income-tested supplement for low-income pensioners. There are also two schemes based on individuals’ contribution records, the ATP and SP, or special pension savings schemes. In addition, voluntary occupational schemes cover about 80% of the workforce...
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    Finland
    The two-tier pension system consists of a basic state pension, which is pension-incometested, and a range of statutory earnings-related schemes, with very similar rules for different groups. The schemes for private-sector employees are partially pre-funded while the public-sector schemes are pay-as-you-go financed (with buffer funds to even out future increases in pension contributions)...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec021.pdf
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    France
    A two-tier system, with an earnings-related public pension and mandatory occupational schemes, based on a points system. The public scheme also has a minimum pension...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec022.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/germany_pension_glance-2005-22-en
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    Germany
    The public pension system has a single tier. It is based on pension points. There is asocial-assistance safety net for low-income pensioners...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec023.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/greece_pension_glance-2005-23-en
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    Greece
    An earnings-related public scheme with two components plus a series of minimum pensions/social safety nets. The system described applies to labour-market entrants from 1993...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec024.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/hungary_pension_glance-2005-24-en
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    Hungary
    The new system combines an earnings-related public pension with mandatory, funded, defined-contribution schemes. This applies to new labour-market entrants and people aged 42 or under at the time of reform. Older workers could choose between this mixed system or a pure pay-as-you-go, public pension. The modelling assumes that workers are covered by the mixed system...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec025.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/iceland_pension_glance-2005-25-en
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    Iceland
    The public pension has three components, including a basic and two income-tested schemes. There are also mandatory occupational pensions with a hybrid (albeit mainly defined-benefit) formula...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec026.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/ireland_pension_glance-2005-26-en
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    Ireland
    The public pension is a basic scheme paying a flat rate to all who meet the contribution conditions. There is also a means-tested pension to provide a safety net for the low-income elderly. Voluntary occupational pension schemes have broad coverage: around half of employees. (The government has a target to increase this proportion to 70%.)...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec027.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/italy_pension_glance-2005-27-en
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    Italy
    The new Italian pension system is based on notional accounts. This is a variant of a traditional pay-as-you-go, public pension system. Contributions earn a rate of return related to GDP growth. Benefits are a function of accumulated notional capital and an actuarial factor (which takes account of average life expectancy at retirement). It applies in full to labour-market entrants from 1996 onwards...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec028.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/japan_pension_glance-2005-28-en
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    Japan
    The Japanese public pension system has two tiers: a basic, flat-rate scheme and an earnings-related plan...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec029.pdf
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    Korea
    The Korean public pension scheme was introduced relatively recently. It is an earningsrelated scheme with a progressive formula, since benefits are based on both individual earnings and the economy-wide average of earnings...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec030.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/luxembourg_pension_glance-2005-30-en
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    Luxembourg
    The public pension scheme has two components: a flat-rate part depending on years of coverage and an earnings-related part. There is also a minimum pension...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec031.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/mexico_pension_glance-2005-31-en
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    Mexico
    New labour-force entrants are obliged to join the new funded and privately managed, defined-contribution scheme. The government contributes 5.5% of the 1997 real minimum wage to the individual account. There is also a minimum pension...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec032.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/netherlands_pension_glance-2005-32-en
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    Netherlands
    The Dutch pension system has two main tiers, consisting of a flat-rate public scheme and earnings-related occupational plans. Although there is no statutory obligation for employers to offer a pension scheme to their employees, industrial-relations agreements mean that 91% of employees are covered. These schemes are therefore best thought of as quasi-mandatory...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec033.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/new-zealand_pension_glance-2005-33-en
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    New Zealand
    The public pension is flat rate based on a residency test. Occupational schemes are also common...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec034.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/norway_pension_glance-2005-34-en
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    Norway
    The public pension system in Norway consists of a flat-rate, basic pension and a supplementary, earnings-related pension. The benefits of people with little or no small earnings-related pension are topped up with an income-tested supplement...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec035.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/poland_pension_glance-2005-35-en
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    Poland
    The new pension system applies to people born in 1949 or after, that is aged 50 at the time of the reform. The new public scheme is based on a system of notional accounts. People under 30 (born in 1969 and after) at the time of the reform must also participate in the funded scheme; people aged 30-50 (born between 1949 and 1968) could choose the funded option. However, the choice had to be made in 1999 and it was irrevocable...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec036.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/portugal_pension_glance-2005-36-en
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    Portugal
    An earnings-related public pension scheme with a means-tested safety net.
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec037.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/slovak-republic_pension_glance-2005-37-en
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    Slovak Republic
    The earnings-related, public scheme has recently been transformed from a standard defined-benefit formula to a point system. There is a minimum annual pension accrual related to the minimum wage...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec038.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/spain_pension_glance-2005-38-en
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    Spain
    The Spanish public pension system consists of a single, earnings-related benefit. There is also a means-tested minimum pension, which replaces the previous special social assistance scheme...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec039.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/sweden_pension_glance-2005-39-en
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    Sweden
    The new pension system, introduced in 1999, applies to people aged 45 or under at the time of reform. The old and the new systems will cover older workers proportionally: people born 1938-53 will receive pensions under a mix of the old and new rules. The earnings-related part is based on notional accounts. There is a small mandatory contribution to individual, defined-contribution pensions and an income-tested top-up. Occupational pension plans – with defined-benefit and defined-contribution elements – have broad coverage...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec040.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/switzerland_pension_glance-2005-40-en
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    Switzerland
    The Swiss pension system has three main parts. The public scheme is earnings-related, but has a progressive formula. There is also a system of mandatory occupational pensions and an income-tested supplementary benefit...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec041.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/turkey_pension_glance-2005-41-en
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    Turkey
    An earnings-related public scheme with an income-tested safety net and a flat-rate supplementary pension...
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      http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8105021ec042.pdf
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    • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/finance-and-investment/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-2005/united-kingdom_pension_glance-2005-42-en
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    United Kingdom
    Britain has a complex pension system, which mixes defined-benefit and definedcontribution formulae and public and private provision. The public scheme has two tiers (a flat-rate basic pension and an earnings-related additional pension), which are complemented by a large voluntary private pension sector. Most employee contributors "contract out" of the state second tier into private pensions of different sorts. A new income-related benefit (pension credit) has recently been introduced to target extra spending on the poorest pensioners...
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    United States
    The publicly provided pension benefit, known as social security, has a progressive benefit formula. There is also a means-tested top-up payment available for low-income pensioners...
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    Voluntary, Occupational Pensions
    Occupational pension schemes, voluntarily provided by employers, are common in many OECD countries. This section shows detailed results on the value of these pension entitlements for four countries: Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. These four countries were chosen for three reasons. First, coverage of occupational pensions is broad: around one third of employees in Canada, a little under half in the United Kingdom and the United States and around 80% in Denmark.1 Secondly, occupational pensions play an important role in providing retirement incomes. Thirdly, data are available on the rules and parameters of different employers’ plans for these countries...
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    Voluntary, Occupational Pensions: Canada
    Over 40% of the Canadian workforce are members of occupational pension schemes, known as retirement pension plans. Around 45% of this total are members of public sector schemes. This gives a coverage rate in the private sector of around 30% compared with nearly 100% coverage among public-sector employees...
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    Voluntary, Occupational Pensions: Denmark
    Defined-contribution schemes are agreed between the social partners. Coverage is almost universal. Contributions to these schemes are typically between 9% and 17% of earnings. Benefits are usually withdrawn as an annuity, although some schemes allow for lump-sum payments. Annuity calculations are based on an assumed interest rate, which is 1.5% for recent contributions and schemes (although was previously 4.5%). However, the schemes operate on a "with-profit" or "participating" basis. This means that pension increases depend on the investment performance of the fund and the mortality experience of its beneficiaries. Since 2000, all negotiated schemes must use unisex life tables for calculating pension values...
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    Voluntary, Occupational Pensions: United Kingdom
    Defined-benefit occupational pension schemes provide a pension usually related to years of membership of the scheme and some measure of final salary when covered by the plan. Most public-sector schemes pay 1/80th of earnings per year of membership, plus 3/80ths as a lump sum. So the benefit after a full, 40-year career would be half of final salary as an annuity plus 1½ times final salary as a lump sum. Private-sector schemes are more diverse. Around 60% pay 1/60th of final salary. But taking a lump sum (known as commutation) reduces the annuity value. Around a fifth of plans are more generous than this, while around 7% pay less than 1/60ths or 1/80ths plus a lump sum...
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    Voluntary, Occupational Pensions: United States
    The majority of occupational pension schemes in the United States are final-salary defined-benefit schemes. These cover 56% of occupational pension members, with 23% in flat-rate defined-benefit plans (which pay a fixed amount for each month of coverage), 11% in average-salary schemes and 6% in defined-contribution plans...
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