Pensions at a Glance 2009
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Pensions at a Glance 2009

Retirement-Income Systems in OECD Countries

Pension and retirement policies have changed dramatically in recent years, as governments have tried to balance the goals of adequate retirement incomes and the long-term financial sustainability of pension systems in the face of population ageing. Pensions at a Glance 2009 provides a consistent framework for comparing pension policies between countries along with reliable data.

This third edition updates information on key features of pension provision in OECD countries and provides projections of retirement income for today’s workers. It offers an expanded range of indicators, including measures of assets, investment performance, coverage of private pensions, public pension spending, and the demographic context and outlook.

Four special chapters provide an in-depth look at important issues in pension policy today. The first examines the implications of the present financial and economic crisis on pension systems. Which countries and which individuals are most affected? What can governments do to help and which policies should they avoid? The second looks at incomes and poverty of older people, looking at trends over the past two decades. In many countries, the position of pensioners has improved relative to the population as a whole, but there remain pockets of old-age poverty. The third updates the analysis of pension reforms in the second edition of Pensions at a Glance. How have pension systems changed in the period 2004‑08? The final special chapter considers coverage of voluntary private pensions, extending the analysis to look at how this varies with age and earnings. It also evaluates five different policies to expand coverage.

This book includes StatLinks, URLs under each graph and table linking to Excel® files containing the underlying data.

"An extraordinarily useful and careful compilation of pension information for a wide-range of countries, presented in a common format and following a thoughtful structure. The authors have brought cross-national pension comparisons to a new level, and they are to be commended for their intensive efforts. [This] represents some of the smartest comparative work out there, by people intimately familiar with the nuances – and complexities – of comparative pension work."

– Olivia Mitchell, Director of the Boettner Centre for Pensions and
Retirement Research, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Author(s):
OECD

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This part of the report provides an in-depth look at the questions pension policymakers face today. It consists of four chapters.
The first examines the implications of the ongoing financial and economic crisis on pension systems. Which countries and which individuals are most affected? What can governments do to help and which policies should they avoid? The chapter presents data on the investment performance of private pensions.
The second looks at incomes and poverty of older people, examining trends over the past two decades. In many countries, the position of pensioners has improved relative to the population as a whole, but there remain pockets of old-age poverty. This chapter also takes a look forward, showing how changes in economies, societies and pension systems might affect incomes and poverty of today’s workers when they reach old age.
The third sets the changes to pension systems announced in the period between 2004 and the end of May 2009. Nearly all OECD countries have reformed pensions in recent years, addressing issues of adequacy of retirement benefits, long-term sustainability of pension systems and the efficiency of retirement-income provision.
The final special chapter considers coverage of voluntary private pensions, looking at how this varies with age and earnings. The ongoing financial crisis has dealt a heavy blow to private retirement savings, but private pensions will remain part of the equation when providing for old age. This chapter evaluates five different policies.
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