Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 953–976 | Cite as

Ageing-driven pension reforms

  • Jan Bonenkamp
  • Lex Meijdam
  • Eduard Ponds
  • Ed Westerhout
Original Paper


This paper stems from the observation that there are two worldwide trends, pension reform and population ageing, and asks whether the two may be related. Exploring the cases of pension reform in different countries, we find that, although they are very different, the cases share a common characteristic: they shift risks away from workers towards those who are retired. Furthermore, population ageing, by increasing the weight of the elderly relative to working generations, raises the price of intergenerational risk sharing. Combining these findings, we argue and show formally that pension reform can be seen as a welfare-best response to population ageing.


Population ageing Pension reform PAYG pensions Funded pensions Welfare analysis 

JEL Classification

H55 J18 H21 



The authors thank Ward Romp for fruitful discussion and two referees and the editor of this journal for useful comments. All remaining errors are our own.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Bonenkamp
    • 1
  • Lex Meijdam
    • 2
  • Eduard Ponds
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ed Westerhout
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.APG Asset ManagementAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy AnalysisThe HagueThe Netherlands

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