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Does the marketisation of pensions lead to individualisation? An examination of family-related pension entitlements

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Patricia FrericksUniversity of Kassel, Germany

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Julia HöppnerUniversity of Kassel, Germany

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Countries around the world have undertaken pension reforms and introduced market-based schemes to replace parts of existing public schemes. Previous research has shown how these reforms are often driven by a commitment to individualisation, and accompanied by rhetoric that encourages ‘self-responsibility’. To date, however, no research has examined the effects of this shift on family-related pension entitlements. In response, this article provides a critical analysis of whether family-related pension rights have, indeed, decreased in the course of marketisation. Through a systematic comparison of Austria and Germany, we show that this is not the case: family-related rights have been included in newly introduced market-based schemes; and pension reforms did not lead to individualisation in either existing public or market-based schemes. As a result, we argue that reform trajectories are path-dependent and contextual; and that future studies should focus on non-individual entitlements when assessing welfare marketisation in general and pension reforms in particular.

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Patricia FrericksUniversity of Kassel, Germany

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Julia HöppnerUniversity of Kassel, Germany

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