English title: Do public pensions matter for health and wellbeing among retired persons? Basic and income security pensions across 13 Western European countries

Author(s): Ingrid Esser - Joakim Palme -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2010

Abstract

Mortality rates suggest that elderly people in the advanced welfare democracies have experienced dramatically improved health over the past decades. This study examined the importance of public pensions for self-reported health and wellbeing among retired persons in 13 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 2002–2005. New public pension data make it possible to distinguish between two qualities of pension systems: ‘basic security’ for those who have no or a short work history, and ‘income security’ for those with a more extensive contribution record. For enhanced cross-national comparison, relative measures of ill-health and wellbeing were constructed to account for cultural bias in responses to survey questions and heterogeneity among countries in the general level of population health. Overall, better health is found in countries with more generous pensions, although the results are gendered; for women's health, high basic security of the pension system appears to be particularly important. Women's wellbeing also tends to be more dependent on the quality of basic security.

Volume: 19

Issue: 1

From page no: 103

To page no: 120

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1111/J.1468-2397.2010.00737.X

Journal: International Journal of Social Welfare