Dynamics of Retirement Income Inequality in Canada, 1991-2011
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This paper explores trends in retirement income inequality in Canada from 1991 to 2011. Although poverty rates among retired Canadian seniors have mostly stabilized, our research suggests that since the 1990s other measures of income inequality have sharply risen. Using census microdata files (1991–2011) and national-level Canadian statistics, we explore the dynamics of income inequality for Canadian retirees by examining relative income from both private and public sources. We find that levels of private retirement income have dramatically risen for some, thus changing the landscape of income inequality for Canadian seniors. Although Canada’s pension system has remained relatively stable, policy drift and layering (Hacker 2004) have occurred, leading to heightened inequality over time. We argue that public policy offers incomplete protection against new inequalities and social risks now associated with retirement.
KeywordsPublic Pensions Private Pensions Aging Retirement Privatization of Risk
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