Public Sector Economics
2020 Conference
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Institute of Public Finance and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung are organising the conference Public Sector Economics 2020 – The State and Perspectives of Pension Reforms. The goal is to take stock of the current state of pension systems around the world and provide a state-of-the-art assessment of the need and room for future reforms in a world of profound demographic, labour market, political and technological changes. 

Over the past quarter century, pension systems around the world underwent significant changes as a result of large demographic shifts and growing doubts about the economic efficiency and financial sustainability of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) systems. Most reforms have included elements of a shift from PAYG-only to multi-pillar (i.e. PAYG and funded pension systems), and from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes. These reforms promised a range of benefits for the economy and the society, including improved fiscal sustainability, increased private saving, capital market development, and favourable distributional effects. Not everything has worked out as expected, and some countries have recently reversed major parts of reforms. The 2008 crisis and the current ultra-low interest rates have exposed additional weaknesses of both defined contribution and defined benefit schemes, and highlighted the need for the pension funds, the social partners and the state to redesign the pension systems. Tensions between national pension systems and growing mobility of the workforce, as well as rapid development of digital technology and financial innovation, have confronted pension systems with additional challenges. 

We invite submissions of critical reviews, analytical and policy studies on various aspects of pension systems and their reforms. Researchers from economics, finance, demographics, sociology, political science, law and health sciences are encouraged to submit papers. 

Conference outline and topics

The conference will feature keynotes on experiences with pension reforms since the 1990s and thoughts about their likely future direction. 
Relevant topics include but are not limited to: 
  • Impact of population ageing and other demographic changes on pension systems; 
  • Impact of labour market changes on pension systems (later labour market entry of the young, fewer full-time jobs, greater labour mobility, etc.);
  • Impact of labour immigration and emigration on pension systems;
  • Globally mobile workforce and portability of pensions; 
  • Problems of countries with ageing population and still low income levels; 
  • Pension systems in a low interest rate environment;
  • New developments in pension system financing;
  • Experiences with pension reforms to date;
  • Macroeconomic and financial stability aspects of pension reforms;
  • Political economy and legal aspects of pension reforms;
  • Intergenerational aspects of pension reforms (or lack thereof);
  • Microsimulation models of pension reforms;
  • Impact of digital technology on future pension systems;
  • Impact of financial innovation on future pension systems.
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