Challenges in Combating Pensioner Poverty Helsinki, 4-5 Dec 2006

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1 Challenges in Combating Pensioner Poverty Helsinki, 4-5 Dec st Afternoon Plenary session Design and reform of minimum income guarantee and general public earnings related pension schemes and their impact on retirement incomes and pensioner poverty 1. Short orientation Klaas de Vos CentERdata Tilburg University

2 Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Parametric reforms of earnings related (DB) public pensions 3. Effects of parametric reforms on retirement incomes and pensioner poverty 4. (Reforms of) Minimum pensions / minimum income guarantee 5. Effects of reforms to minimum pensions on retirement incomes and pensioner poverty 6. Preliminary conclusions

3 1. Introduction Increasing longevity Decreasing share of working population Increasing pressure on public PAYG DB pension schemes Reforms: parametric reforms vs. systematic reforms One possible effect: lower pensions...(or save more, work longer) Increased poverty risk for the elderly Increasing role of minimum pensions Incentive against saving more, working longer?

4 Parametric reforms of public DB pension schemes - contributions: rates, requirements to qualify for maximum requirements to qualify for early retirement - pension age - benefits: indexation rules, pension formula: accrual rates pensionable earnings

5 Table 1: Countries that made parametric reforms between 1995/96 and 2005 Retirement Contribution Contribution Benefit Pension Age Rate Requirement Indexation Formula Austria Czech Rep. Austria Austria Austria Belgium Denmark Belgium Germany Belgium Cyprus Finland Czech Rep. Greece Czech Rep. Czech Rep. Germany Denmark Hungary Finland Denmark Hungary Finland Spain France Estonia Ireland France Slovak Rep. Greece Finland Italy Germany Hungary Germany Latvia Ireland Italy Greece Lithuania Italy France Hungary Malta Slovak Rep. Luxembourg Italy Netherlands Slovenia Portugal Latvia Portugal Spain Slovak Rep. Lithuania Slovak Rep. Slovenia Portugal U.K. Spain Slovak Rep. U.K. U.K. Source: Pension Policy in EU25 and its possible impact on elderly poverty ( Second Report ), A. Zaidi, B.Marin, M. Fuchs, European Centre, Vienna, 2006.

6 One main objective of parametric reforms: prevent excessive pension burdens 1. Fewer pensioners : increase pension age, tighten contribution rules (early retirement) 2. Lower pensions : tighten pension formula introduction of automatic stabilizers indexation by prices rather than wages

7 Likely effect on pensioner incomes: - current pensioners: decrease (if any) - future pensioners: decrease (but not necessary!) Effect on pensioner poverty: - current pensioners: increase (if any) - future pensioners: increase (but not necessary!) Two ways to protect future pensioners from increased poverty risk: 1. Work longer / save more in order to increase pensioner incomes 2. Minimum pensions

8 Minimum pensions: Various systems: universal flat-rate pensions minimum in earnings-related pensions other e.g. social assistance Large variation in coverage, delivery Impact on pensioner incomes, pensioner poverty

9 Countries reforming minimum pension: impact on pensioner poverty +pov: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, France,Luxembourg, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Sweden,UK, Portugal, Greece (19) - pov: Slovak Republic, Hungary, Finland, Italy, Netherlands (5) Both: Belgium (1) Source: Pension Policy in EU25 and its possible impact on elderly poverty ( Second Report ), A. Zaidi, B.Marin, M. Fuchs, European Centre, Vienna, 2006.

10 Effects of minimum pensions Protection against (extreme) elderly poverty Incentive against saving more / working longer? SPC: incentive effects are usually considered to be modest or not likely depend on design of minimum pension arrangement, means test, savings disregard, indexation, etc. Q.: how to actually encourage activity after reaching pension age?

11 Minimum pension : level should be high enough to prevent (extreme) poverty low enough to offer incentive to increase pension by working longer / saving more differentiate between those with a choice and those without (e.g. disabled, very old)?

12 Preliminary conclusions: Parametric pension reforms may decrease pensioner incomes and increase poverty risk Minimum pensions may offer protection against poverty Incentives to work longer and/or save more may be crucial

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