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Pension Reforms in Six West-European Countries. Which Lessons Can be Drawn for Germany?

GPS, Vol. 2 No. 1, (2002)

In recent years most European countries have implemented reforms of the pension system but the scope and the direction of these reforms have been different. This article compares the characteristics of pensions systems in six European countries: Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and Germany in order to analyse recent reform strategies. We could document a trend towards diversification in pension systems and observed that the previously distinct models of Esping-AndersenĀ“s 'three worlds' have become hazier. Our research does not point to convergence of these systems, however. Most systems follow an incremental strategy where fundamental reforms are seldom. We conclude that the countries may learn from each other but it is necessary for them to account for their individual national and systemic backgrounds. Thereby the focus of pension reform research should be placed on aims and strategies rather than on specific measures of a given reform.

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