Insurance or right?

(Jan 7, 2013)

The Economist recently carried an article about the perceived unfairness of increasing the retirement age. The argument is that poorer people have higher mortality rates, which means they get less value from a given pension than richer people: the poor are less likely to survive long enough to receive the pension, and if they do they will draw it for a shorter period of time. Of course, a similar argument applies to males or smokers: they have higher mortality rates than females and non-smokers, respectively.

At the root of this problem is the little-discussed question of whether an old-age pension is an insurance or a benefit of right. When the first UK-wide state pension commenced in 1909, a twenty-year-old…

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Tags: state pension age, life expectancy

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