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Who leads pension reforms? : a research of the ‘pension politics of interest groups’ in the U.S. and U.K.

Jong Ho Choi 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Who leads pension reforms? Does the ‘pension politics of interest groups’ matter in pension reforms? This article provides a theoretical framework for analyzing ‘pension politics of interest groups’ in pension reform of liberal welfare states, created by parties and interest groups, and clarifies the types of pension reforms drawn from this framework. This article further examines ‘pension politics of interest groups’ interacts with country-specific institutional differences. This article also investigates cases of pension reforms in the U.S. and U.K. since 1980s. For the sake of effective case comparison, post-1980s period(the period of welfare retrenchment) is divided into two periods (the period of retrenchment and the period of permanent austerity). Additionally, this research focuses on behaviors of peak associations in examining the process of pension reform in each period. Through this analysis, I show that in the U.S. and U.K. interest groups have played active and inportant role in pension reforms and the outcomes of pension reforms vary according to institutional contexts of country. In the period of welfare retrenchment, pension reform with retrenchment-oriented characteristics have been implemented and succeeded in both U.S. and U.K. through developing ‘pension politics of interest group’ (incentive sharing between right party and economic interest groups). However, the pension reforms of the two countries in the period of permanent austerity exhibit different patterns: In the U.K. expansion-oriented pension reform is implemented and succeeded through ‘pension politics of interest groups’ (incentive sharing between left party and welfare clienteles interest group), while in the U.S, pension reform failed due to the strong influence from economic interest groups and institutional difference.

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