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Title: The financial industry and pension privatization in Europe : shareholder capitalism triumphant?
Author: Naczyk, Marek P.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis examines the political dynamics behind the contemporary trend towards pension privatization in Europe. Its aim is to develop a theoretical model that can explain not only why governments have increasingly replaced their public pay-as-you-go systems with private fully-funded schemes, but also why there is considerable diversity both in the extent and in the content of pension privatization. Private pension funds can indeed be governed by a variety of institutional arrangements and can have very different types of links with the financial system. They do not necessarily contribute to a financialization of the economy. The thesis takes issue with the idea that pension privatization would be primarily the result of a new pensions orthodoxy promoted by international organizations such as the World Bank or of an electoral strategy that consists in attracting the votes of the middle class. I argue that the driving force behind the more or less dramatic rise of funded pensions in Europe is a series of lobbying campaigns launched by the financial industry, and their varying influence. Financial firms have a vested interest in the development of a market in private pensions, which should profit them as an industry. However, pension reform is an issue that matters to voters and can therefore prove dangerous for party politicians. Moreover, it involves complex changes that directly affect key material interests of employers and workers. In this context, the success of financial firms’ campaign for pension privatization depends on their capacity to forge alliances with a variety of actors. This in turn contributes to limit the influence financiers can exert. The argument is tested using a comparative historical analysis of pension debates in the United Kingdom, France and Poland since the beginning of the 1980s.
Supervisor: Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pensions ; Political science ; Public policy ; Social policy & social work ; Welfare state reform and change ; Ageing ; European democracies