Print page

The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central–Eastern Europe

Katharina Müller, Professor of Social Policy, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany
This highly topical book focuses on a particularly interesting area of post–1989 social policy. Existing public pension systems in Central–Eastern Europe underwent fundamental change as Latin–American style pension reforms were adopted. Such radical change in retirement provision defied conventional wisdom among scholars of the political economy of pension reform, suggesting a need for fresh research. This unique study accepts the challenge, focusing on the divergent pension reform experiences of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: $134.00 Web: $120.60
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 978 1 84064 238 4
Availability: In Stock
$0.00

Buy the E-Book @ paperback price

Join our mailing list

This highly topical book focuses on a particularly interesting area of post–1989 social policy. Existing public pension systems in Central–Eastern Europe underwent fundamental change as Latin–American style pension reforms were adopted. Such radical change in retirement provision defied conventional wisdom among scholars of the political economy of pension reform, suggesting a need for fresh research. This unique study accepts the challenge, focusing on the divergent pension reform experiences of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.



This study was granted the EACES Award 2000, a bi-annual prize awarded in the area of comparative economic systems and economics of transition.

It has also been awarded the Ed. A. Hewett Prize by the AAASS (American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies).
‘This book provides a nice introduction to the process of reforming pension systems. Müller offers a brief but neat summary of the main policy choices, the reasons why reforms should be undertaken, and the main differences between the reform approaches of political scientists and economists. The book offers accessible and timely material on an interesting subject. Pension reform is a new topic, and research is often only presented in specialized journals and World Bank publications, so this work will be welcomed by students of transition. In addition, it will be useful to policymakers and government officials in countries that are only now thinking about making changes to their pensions schemes.’
– Zdenek Drabek, Slavic Review

‘This book deals with an important topic, its analysis is reliable, and it obtains interesting results. Müller combines politology and economic theory with empirical data and observations. She has spent a good deal of time studying these countries and their institutions and she has interviewed a lot of experts. Furthermore, the book is very well written and thus it is a pleasure to read . . . To sum up, Müller’s book has to be read by anybody who is interested in pension systems and pension reforms, and especially in the ex-socialist settings.’
– A. Simonovits, Acta Oeconomica

‘Müller’s book is an exemplary study of the policy process, showing the interaction between the logic of politics and the logic of economics. Through a sophisticated understanding of the political economy of the individual countries she shows how and why they respond to a common challenge in different ways. The book is particularly refreshing in that it shows the power of comparative analysis. In the past, specialists on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have been faulted for their lack of comparative focus; yet here is a work that analyzes one to the most important and thorny social issues of the early twenty-first century – how to create a pension system that meets the needs of an ageing population with severe budget constraints – in a broad range of countries. The book’s appearance is most timely, as the countries of the former Soviet Union are also now debating how to restructure their pension systems. They have a great deal to learn from the careful analysis of the East-Central European experience that is to be found in Müller’s book.’
– Ed. A. Hewett Prize by the AAASS (American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies)

‘This book presents a fine and original comparative institutional analysis of pension reform in three Central–Eastern European countries: Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. This analysis is introduced by an examination of alternative models of design choices and policy blueprints, that is based on both theoretical insights and the experience of Western Europe and Latin America. Particularly interesting and convincing is the presentation of the role of Welfare Ministries and Finance Ministries in pension reform proposals and action and the role of budget deficits in determining the relative weight of the two constituencies.’
– Bruno Dallago, European Association for Comparative Economic Studies and University of Trento, Italy

‘I consider Ms Müller’s study a most valuable and original contribution to the literature. Although pension reform is discussed all over the world presently, no comprehensive analysis for the transition countries is available. Ms Müller’s study fills this gap . . . the presentation is concise and readable.’
– Hans Jürgen Wagener, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Reforming Old-Age Security: Design Choices and Policy Blueprints 3. Approaching the Political Economy of Pension Reform 4. Pension Reform in Hungary 5. Pension Reform in Poland 6. Pension Reform in the Czech Republic 7. Central–Eastern European Pension Reforms in a Comparative Perspective 8. Conclusions: The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central–Eastern Europe References Index