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Pensions at a Glance 2011

Retirement-income Systems in OECD and G20 Countries

image of Pensions at a Glance 2011

The theme of this fourth edition of Pensions at a Glance is pensions, retirement and life expectancy. Many countries have increased pension ages in the face of population ageing and longer lives. Some have introduced an automatic link between pensions and life expectancy. Improvements to the incentives to work rather than retire are also a common part of recent pension-reform packages. However, ensuring that there are enough jobs for older workers remains a challenge. 

An in-depth look at these important policy issues is provided by five special chapters on: pension ages, retirement behaviour, pension incentives to retire, the demand for older workers and linking pensions to life expectancy. This edition updates information on the key features of pension provision in OECD countries and provides projections of retirement income for today’s workers. It offers an expanded range of 34 indicators, covering the design of national retirement-income provision, pension entitlements, incomes of older people, the finances of pension systems, the demographic and economic context in which pension systems operate and private pensions. 

More countries are analysed than in previous editions, including four new members of the OECD: Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. Where possible, data are also provided for the other major economies in the G20: Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Along with data on the European Union’s 27 member states, this brings to 43 the number of economies covered in the report. 

About Pensions at a Glance...

 “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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Pensions Incentives to Retire

Individuals’ decisions about work and retirement depend on the financial incentives embedded in retirement-income systems. This chapter presents measures of the pension incentive to retire, showing how the retirement income system can act as an implicit tax or subsidy on remaining in work. The analysis looks at the main retirement “window” in OECD countries, from age 60 to 65. In addition to increases in pensionable ages (set out in Chapter 1), recent pension reforms in most countries have involved policies to reduce the incentive to retire early and increase the incentive to retire after the normal pension age. However, the incentive to retire early remains strong in a minority of OECD countries. And there are ways in which most countries could further improve their pension system. The chapter concludes with nine policy conclusions that would reward people for working longer.

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