Pensions in the European Union: Adapting to Economic and Social Change

  • Gerard Hughes
  • Jim Stewart

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Emmanuel Reynaud
      Pages 1-12
  3. Population Ageing, Competitiveness and Retirement

  4. Pension Financing and Economic Growth

  5. Adapting Pension Systems to Meet Change

  6. Pensions and Social Partnership

  7. Conclusions

  8. Back Matter
    Pages 209-216

About this book


The ageing, financial and labour market challenges facing the old age pension systems of the member states of the European Union are well known. Those who cast doubt on the ability of the present system of pension provision - at least to the extent that it is pay-as-you-go financed - to cope with the problems posed by these challenges are getting more vociferous. Increasingly there are calls for pay-as-you-go systems to be cut back and for funded systems to be expanded.
This book contests the view that funding is the answer. It shows how adaptable the largely pay-as-you-go old age pension systems in the European Union are. Actuaries, economists, lawyers, political scientists, pension advisers, and sociologists, from nine European countries and the United States, consider four main themes: population ageing, competitiveness and retirement; pension financing and economic growth; adapting pension systems to meet change; and decision-making processes. They argue that pay-as-you-go-financed old age pension systems in the European Union have the ability to successfully adapt to economic and social change provided they do not take on too many non-insurance-related risks. Solving the problems of the labour market and controlling the direction and extent of economic development are beyond the powers of old age pension systems, regardless of how they are structured or financed.
Separate budgets for separate risks is an indispensable principle if the complex processes of social protection are to be successfully managed, monitored, and made transparent. There can be no single plan for the future development of old age pension systems which would be universally valid for all the countries of the European Union. A single solution cannot take into account the special circumstances obtaining in every nation, and since respect for the special features of national systems is the basis of popular acceptance, the way forward is to reform existing systems in existing contexts.


European Union (EU) Industrial Relations Investment demography economic development economic growth labour market political economy population social change

Editors and affiliations

  • Gerard Hughes
    • 1
  • Jim Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.The Economic and Social Research InstituteDublinIreland
  2. 2.Trinity CollegeDublinIreland

Bibliographic information