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Conversations on Europe. "Pension Policy in Central and East Europe: Reforms and Reversals."

Thursday, January 19, 2012
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University.

Pension reforms in Central and East Europe.

During the 1990s and 2000s, most Central and East European countries radically reformed their pension systems. In addition to changes in their social security systems, many countries implemented 'Chilean model' defined-contribution schemes based on individual pension savings accounts. Many studies have explored why countries adopted these reforms, but few have asked how stable they have been. This presentation analyzes political stability from an institutionalist perspective. It examines whether more majoritarian and polarized countries experience greater change or fluctuation over time than consensus polities. One hypothesis is that majoritarian polities may adopt greater reform initially, but fail to sustain it as excluded groups later come to power. This proposition is tested with case study evidence from four countries: Croatia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia, showing that more inclusive institutions can support radical and durable change.
Igor Guardiancich, earned his PhD in Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. His doctoral dissertation and subsequent work are on the political economy of reforms in Central, East and Southeast Europe as well as post-socialist and pan-European social policy. During his residency at the U-M, he will teach a course in the Department of Political Science titled, "Political Economy of Transition in Europe." The course will offer students an introduction to the transition from central planning to a market economy and from totalitarianism to democracy as well as further developments in Eastern Europe. It will also cover Europeanization and EU enlargement, the financial crisis, and the inception of various socioeconomic policies. His most recent publications include articles in West European Politics, East European Politics & Societies, and International Social Security Review. His book, Pension Reforms in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe: From Post-Socialist Transition to the Global Financial Crisis, will be published in 2012 by Routledge.