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International trends in pension provision

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This paper considers international trends in pension arrangements, starting with lessons from economic theory. The analysis includes recent developments in the economics of information and behavioural economics, developments which call into question conventional arguments in favour of voluntarism and free competition. Section 3 of the paper considers why pension systems are developing the way they are - largely a response to a series of long-term trends. In light of the discussion in Sections 2 and 3, Section 4 of the paper describes pension systems in a range of countries, and illustrates the wide range of options available to a developed country. Section 5 reflects briefly on accounting standards. The paper offers a number of key messages. Pension systems have multiple objectives. Second, and, in part, a consequence, there is no single best pension system. Third, policy design is not enough - the design of pension systems must be compatible with a country's capacity to implement the design effectively.

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