International Tax and Public Finance

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 349–365 | Cite as

The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age

  • Monika Bütler


In 1998, the Swiss voters approved of an increase in the female retirement age within the public pension system from 62 to 64. The referendum, being on a single issue only, offers a unique opportunity to explore the political feasibility of pension reforms and to apply theoretical models of life-cycle decision making. Estimates carried out with municipality data suggest that the outcome of the vote conforms well with predictions drawn from a theoretical model. Young agents, elderly and—to a lesser extent—middle-aged men favor an increase in female retirement age, while middle-aged women strongly oppose it. Richer communities and those with a high proportion of self-employed or a low fraction of blue-collar workers are more likely to opt for a higher retirement age. Ideological preferences and regional differences also play a considerable role.

social security reforms (female) retirement age life-cycle decision making 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Bütler
    • 1
  1. 1.CEPR & CESifo, DEEP-HEC, Université de Lausanne, BFSH1Université de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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