Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Roderic Beaujot

Abstract

Populations have faced significant challenges due to globalization, demographic ageing, and new social risks. These challenges have brought noteworthy pressures for pension systems, particularly as the large baby boom cohorts begin to exit the labour market. This thesis considers the recent developments in pension systems in OECD countries in light path dependency associated with four-fold welfare regime typology—namely the Social Democratic, the Liberal, Continental, and Southern European. Thesis research shows that pension regimes mainly follow a welfare regime typology based on differential responsibility for welfare distribution on the part of the market, the state, the family, and local actors.

This thesis takes the form of three distinct, though logically-interrelated, manuscripts. The following issues have been particularly examined in this research. First, it examines the distribution of welfare with special emphasis on the elderly. Second, it examines the question of the path dependency of pension policy characteristics across OECD countries. Third, it discusses the outcomes of welfare distribution and pension policies especially by reference to gender and generations.

Based on the OECD data, Chapter 2 scrutinizes the differential pension policies, and places 19 OECD countries into a welfare regime typology that characterizes the institutional similarities and differences. This chapter confirms that the institutional characteristics of welfare regimes matter despite the convergence that might be expected from economic and demographic changes. Analysing the conceptual foundation of previous research, Chapter 3 examines the latest economic and demographic trends in pension policies in OECD countries in light of path dependency approach. This chapter concludes that there is no single path for pension reform. While there are some variations, welfare states mostly follow their traditional paths, which differ across welfare regime groups. Examining the Turkish welfare regime, Chapter 4 discusses the welfare of the old with special focus on pension system. This chapter highlights the roles of the state, the family, the market, and local actors in welfare distribution, with particular emphasis on the state. This chapter concludes that in spite of noteworthy pension reforms seeking to achieve a fair pension system for all groups, the Turkish pension system has still some inequality problems in terms of gender and generations.


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