Holding Governments Accountable for Pension Reform? Testing the Moderating Effects of New Social Risks

Dani Marinova (UAB)
5th of April, 12:30h
Sala de Juntes de la Facultat de Ciències Polítiques i Sociologia de la UAB

Are governments held electorally accountable for pension reform? This important ques-tion lies at the heart of research on pension policy. Extant research takes for granted that retrenching pensions is electorally risky and that government strategies in doing so are motivated by electoral punishment. The few empirical tests of this thesis have been inconclusive, however. Because pension reform is multifaceted, reforms simultaneously benefit some socioeconomic groups at the detriment of others. Individuals exposed to ‘new social risks’ – e.g., women, the atypically employed – react to reforms in access to minimum pensions; the traditional beneficiaries of the male-breadwinner pensions model – men, workers in standard employment, union members – react to the curtailing of ‘old’ benefits, including standard pensions for full-time, continuous employment. Electoral survey data from a large sample of advanced industrial democracies offer some support to these expectations. We discuss the implications for theories of blame avoid-ance and the clientelistic turn in policymaking.