University of Twente Student Theses


Policy developments in the area of old-age pensions: the Open Method of Coordination: a tool to influence national pension policies?

Marquard, F.M. (2013) Policy developments in the area of old-age pensions: the Open Method of Coordination: a tool to influence national pension policies?

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Abstract:Demographic change is a threat many countries face (Eckardt, 2005) and most pension systems are functioning in a way in which those who work pay the retirement provision for those who are retired. The circumstance of demographic change, so the trend that people tend to get older and fewer babies are born (European Commission, n.d.), may be seen as a call to adjust pension systems. Moreover, as we live in times of greater mobility concerning labour, especially across the European Union (EU), it is of great importance to know in how far pension regulations among the member states differ. This greater mobility can amongst others be explained by the four freedoms: free movement of people, goods, services and capital. These freedoms established by the European Union and its member states facilitate that people start working in other countries than their origin and thus are subject to different pension policies. That is why this study aims at developing an insight on how social policies within the member states have changed over the last decade and if the influence of European governance changed them in a manner that pension policy is regulated in a similar or even equal way. Hence, this thesis tries to answer the question: “What is the role of the Open Method of Coordination in fostering Europeanization in the area of old-age pensions in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden in the period between 1999 and 2010?” The selection of three countries is based on the welfare state typology of Esping-Andersen, which are liberal, conservative and social. The United Kingdom (UK) represents the liberal welfare state, Germany the conservative and Sweden the social. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on pensions and the objectives of the Laeken Summit are outlined within the paper. The OMC on pensions required the member states to provide a National Strategy Report (NSR) for 2002 and 2005. In the analytical part, the paper is limited to two goals of the Laeken Summit (objective 5 and 10). Moreover, National Reform Programmes (NRPs) are used for the analysis. With the help of the theory of Europeanization it was found out that the OMC on pensions drives Europeanization of national pension policies a little bit further. However, it turned out that this research field is very complex and due to the fact that the OMC on pensions is rather vague, giving an explicit answer is difficult. In sum, the UK, Germany and Sweden largely argue that changes in the policy area of old-age pensions are done mostly because of demographic changes and not because of the OMC as such.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
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