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Seeking a Premier EconomyThe Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000$
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David Card, Richard Blundell, and Richard B. Freeman

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226092843

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226092904.001.0001

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Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s

Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s

(p.233) 6 Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s
Seeking a Premier Economy
Richard Disney, Carl Emmerson, Sarah Smith
University of Chicago Press

Over the last twenty years, successive governments of the United Kingdom have embarked on a series of reforms of the pension program designed both to reduce the prospective costs of social security, and to permit more flexibility and individual choice in secondary pension provision. Central to this strategy has been an evolution of the mechanism of “contracting out,” introduced originally in 1978 as a means of integrating existing occupational pension plans into the new State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). This chapter explores the impact of pension reforms on the UK's economic performance. It first sketches out the British pension program, mentioning some important facets to the reform process, such as cutbacks in the flat basic state pension, and greater targeting on poor pensioners. It then discusses five aspects of the British economy where pension arrangements, and pension reform, might be expected to have some effects: household savings rates; public finances, especially the government's intertemporal budget constraint; income distribution; labor supply (and especially retirement behavior); and the general operation of the labor market.

Keywords:   pension reforms, United Kingdom, pension plans, State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme, household savings, public finances, income distribution, labor supply, retirement, labor market

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