US Pension Reform: Lessons from Other Countries

by Martin Neil Baily and Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
February 2009
Book Description

It is generally accepted that Social Security must be reformed, but there is little agreement on what should be done to reform the program. US Pension Reform: Lessons from Other Countries looks at the social pension reforms of twelve other countries, assesses the current US Social Security program, and evaluates how these twelve models inform opportunities for adaptation of the current system. The authors consider governments' current fiscal balances in order to contextualize countries' initial financial liabilities and pension program infrastructure.

The book concludes with an integrated reform proposal for Social Security. These prescriptions suggest concrete plans to address issues such as underfunding, benefits for high-income participants and the elderly demographic segment, as well as the creation of an individual account program. This volume forges significant advances and boldly confronts the challenge of reconstructing the US Social Security program.

Chapters are provided for preview only.



1. Lessons from the World [pdf]

2. Fiscal and Demographic Challenges

3. The Distributional Challenge

4. The Employment Incentive Challenge for Aging Populations

5. Individual Accounts

6. Notional or Nonfinancial Individual Accounts [pdf]

7. Challenges to Corporate Pension Provision

8. Conclusion [pdf]



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Book Data

February 2009
ISBN Paper 978-0-88132-425-9
384 pp.

Interview with Kirkegaard

Commentaries on This Book

"This provocative assessment of Social Security and private plans here and abroad opens up fresh thinking about how to more equitably ensure retirement security in the United States."

–Virginia P. Reno, vice president for income security, National Academy of Social Insurance

"This is an impressive book that reads well, presents interesting and wide-ranging evidence, and does not shy away from making judgments and concrete policy recommendations."

–Jakob von Weizsäcker, resident fellow, Bruegel

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