Socio-Economic Gaps in Workers' Participation in Private Pension Programmes in Ten European Countries

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Cambridge University Press
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In recent decades, many European governments have passed pension reforms to incentivise participation in private pension plans. However, we still have minimal understanding of whether participation in such plans is concentrated in certain groups or spread uniformly across society, or what their stability over time is. To illuminate the social selectivity of these plans and potential changes in that selectivity over time, we analyse six waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) in ten European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Specifically, we focus on participation gaps in individual and occupational plans of workers across six dimensions: gender, education, age, social class, income, and risk preference. The results indicate large and persistent social divides in participation rates. As expected, rates are significantly higher among workers who are not close to retirement, those with an upper service occupation and those with high income. Importantly, these divides did not shrink significantly over the period considered - 2006 to 2021. Social selectivity is not consistently smaller in contexts of more mature private pension provision, whereas it is consistently smaller in countries with more generous public pensions.
Individual pension schemes, Occupational pension schemes, Social divides
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Gonzales, S., & Fernández, J. (2022). Socio-Economic Gaps in Workers’ Participation in Private Pension Programmes in Ten European Countries. Journal of Social Policy, 1-33.