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
 
Pensions at a Glance 2009

Pensions at a Glance 2009

Retirement-Income Systems in OECD Countries You or your institution have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
15 Oct 2009
Pages :
280
ISBN :
9789264063457 (PDF) ; 9789264060715 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/pension_glance-2009-en

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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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    Foreword
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    Pension Policy
    The headline figures are frightening. The financial crisis has meant that private pension funds lost 23% of their investment’s value, or some USD 5.4 trillion on aggregate in the OECD, in 2008. Stock markets fell further in 2009 before recovering to reach a level 6.4% higher on 21 May 2009 than at the start of the year. Across the OECD, economic output is expected to fall by 4.3% in 2009 and growth is not expected to return until 2011. Projections of unemployment rates show an increase from a trough of 5.6% in 2007 to 9.9% in 2010 in the OECD area. Thus, what started as a financial crisis has become an economic and social crisis.
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    Executive Summary
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    The Framework of Pensions at a Glance
    This third edition of Pensions at a Glance again offers analysis of current pension-policy issues and a useful point of reference on retirement-income systems in the 30 OECD countries. This section sets out the structure of the report. It is divided into three main parts: policy issues, indicators and country profiles. After these have been discussed, this section turns to the details of the methodology for calculating individual pension entitlements. A brief overview of the many different types of pension schemes is then set out, followed by a summary of the architecture of national systems.
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    Policy Issues
    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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    Indicators of Pension Policies
    Part II updates the important indicators of retirement-income systems developed for the first and second editions of Pensions at a Glance. It also offers an expanded range of indicators. This information – presented in a clear, "at a glance" style – provides a comprehensive and consistent framework for comparing and evaluating pension systems and pension policies.
    The 17 indicators are divided into three categories. The first of these groups comprises indicators of individual pension entitlements under all 30 of OECD member countries’ pension regimes. Along with the familiar measure of pension replacement rates, there are indicators of pension wealth, the progressivity of retirement-income systems and the balance between public and private provision.
    The second group of indicators looks at retirement-income systems as a whole. These comprise data on contribution rates for public pensions, assets in private pension funds and national pension reserves, coverage of private pensions and expenditure on pension benefits.
    The third and final category of indicators relate to the background and context in which retirement-incomes systems must operate. These include key demographic measures – such as life expectancy and fertility – and average earnings.
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    Country Profiles
    This part of Pensions at a Glance presents profiles of the parameters and rules of national pension systems. Before illustrating the country profiles, however, the introduction sets out a cross-country comparison of their key features and provides a guide to the contents of the country profiles. A table at the end of the introduction summarises the pension-scheme parameters and rules.
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