Reshaping retirement policies in post-industrial nations: The need for flexibility
Social Security programs in post-industrial nations are facing the need for policy reforms. Fiscal shortfalls in current Social Security programs are a major driving force promoting these reforms. At the same time, changes in longevity and the nature of work and retirement also suggest the need for policy reform. This article begins with a broad overview of some of the policy innovations of the Europe Union as a whole, and then focuses more in-depth on policy reforms in three countries that exemplify Esping-Andersen’s (1990) typology of welfare states: Sweden, Germany, and Canada. These three countries have passed policies that promote flexibility in retirement for older adults, including “gradual retirement”, “partial retirement”, and credit for caregiving activities. Keeping older adults in the labor force longer retains the tax base of contributors into Social Security as well as allowing those who want to stay in the labor force more choice. The reforms are discussed, along with their potential usefulness for future Social Security policy reforms in the United States.
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