A Comparative Review Over the Pension Systems’ Performance in Central and Eastern European Countries

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Towards the late 90’s, together with overcoming the shock of transition, most countries in Central and Eastern Europe began a process of profound reform of the pension systems. The aim of these reforms was mainly ensuring the financial sustainability of the pension systems often without taking into account their primary goal: to provide adequate retirement incomes, to allow the elderly to maintain a decent living standard after retirement and to have economic independence. However, a successful pension system is not the one that involves little spending but the one achieving its primary goal while limiting the future pressures on public finances.

The economic crisis has increased the vulnerability of the pension systems. The economic recessions or slow economic growth, budget deficits and debt burdens, low employment rates have led to rising the concern about the ability of pension systems to fulfil their purpose. In this context, most Central and Eastern European countries have recently been forced to take up new changes in pensions. In our study we accomplished a comparative analysis of the pension systems’ performance based on calculating a composite indicator that includes three components: the indicator of adequacy, the financial sustainability indicator and the indicator of modernity. Each of these components is obtained by aggregating a selection of sub-indicators. The purpose of this analysis is to identify best practices for successful reform, but also to highlight potential hazards or imbalances that might face various emerging countries.

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