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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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Trends in Retirement and in Working at Older Ages

This chapter examines labour-market behaviour of older workers, their pattern across countries and over time. There was a strong trend to early retirement throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, this came to an end in the mid 1990s, and during the 2000s, the proportion of 50-64 years olds participating in the labour market has started to creep up. A detailed analysis of pathways into retirement suggest that at least half of men use routes such as unemployment, sickness or disability benefits in half of countries. Women also often leave the labour market to care for family members. Older workers appear to have fared relatively well in the economic downturn that followed the global financial crisis in most OECD countries. This contrasts with previous recessions, where older workers were often the first to lose their jobs and found it hardest to find new employment. A decomposition of governments’ long-term projections of the finance of the pension system shows that these are highly dependent on further increases in participation rates at older ages and effective retirement ages.

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