Markus Tepe: Traveling without Moving? Pension regime change in ageing welfare states
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Profile Markus Tepe

Friday, 3 October 2008, 15:00
Seminar Room at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Berggasse 17, 1090 Vienna

Contact: Orsolya Lelkes

Speaker: Markus Tepe (Center for Social Science Methodology, Carl von Ossietzky Universitšt Oldenburg)

Highlights of the Seminar:
The puzzling phenomenon at the heart of this paper is the simultaneity of welfare regime stability and reform within regimes. Although comparative welfare state research tends to emphasize the role of policy legacies and institutional rigidity, there is increasing evidence on high levels of old age security reform. This paper investigates if pension reform trajectories in ageing welfare states are following a logic of "bounded change", whereby change takes place but pension regime differences persist. In order to trace "bounded change" as a feature of pension policies, the empirical analysis separates into three questions: First, do pension systems in the OECD cluster into distinct and stable regimes? Second, can we identify common patterns of reform within regimes? And third, if there are distinct reform patterns, what are their redistributive consequences?
The explorative empirical analysis employs multiple correspondence, hierarchical cluster and cross-sectional regression analyses on a sample of up to 18 OECD countries (1988-2002). The main findings can be summarized as followed: First, although mature pension systems face relatively similar challenges they respond differently toward these challenges. Second, Esping-Andersen's (1990) typology has difficulties to explain the observed pattern. Pension reform trajectories in ageing welfare states seem to be better captured in terms of insurance-based Bismarckian pensions systems, and tax-based Beveridgean pension systems. Third, concerning the redistiributive consequences of reform trajectories findings suggest that shifting toward funded pensions may require more careful considerations of its effect on old age poverty rates. In overall terms, the results of this study indicate convergence of reform trajectories within regimes rather than convergence of pension systems, pointing out the potential limits of efforts to harmonize old age security policies in the OECD world.

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International Seminar series: The seminar was a part of the series of International Seminars that are organised by the European Centre. More information about our other International Seminars