Chapter 4: Pensions and Children
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Seppo Mikko Sakari Honkapohja (),
Hans-Werner Sinn (),
Xavier Vives (),
Giancarlo Corsetti () and
Gilles Saint-Paul ()
EEAG Report on the European Economy, 2005, 69-101
This chapter is a primer of key economic issues in the reform of pension systems in the EU. The chapter begins with an overview on the strains on European pension systems that loom ahead as a result of the ageing populations in the EU countries. The old-age dependency ratios are forecasted to grow to very high levels, which has major fiscal implications, as the pension system is, to a large extent, a part of the public sector. The chapter discusses principles for reforms of the pension systems that are needed to fix the emerging budget problems and to improve efficiency. The strain can be relieved to some extent by increasing the retirement age and lowering pension benefits, as well as by adopting more general structural policies that enhance economic growth. Our key recommendation is to add a funded pillar to the existing pay-as-you-go systems, to mitigate the missing human capital (due to ageing) by adding incentives for real capital formation. Moreover, the pay-as-you-go pension could be differentiated according to the number of children, provided individually tailored savings plans for the funded pillar are designed to ensure a sufficient level of overall pensions for the childless.
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