National culture and the configuration of public pensions


This paper explores the determinants of public pension plan configurations. It is argued that the level of intragenerational redistribution in public pension plans is related to a country’s cultural background. The level of intragenerational redistribution is measured by Krieger and Traub’s Bismarckian factor. The countries’ cultural background is operationalized using cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede. The empirical results are in line with our hypotheses. Uncertainty avoidance appears to have a significant, positive association with the Bismarckian factor (low intragenerational redistribution in public pensions), whereas the relation with individualism is negative (high intragenerational redistribution). Moreover, a positive association is found between the Bismarckian factor and inflation shocks in the first half of the 20th century. While the sample size is limited, the results are robust to the inclusion of different economic, institutional, and demographic control variables as well as to using alternative model specifications. These findings have important public policy implications. We argue that pension reform proposals suggesting a transformation of public to private pension provision should consider the cultural background of countries.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.


Missie en strategie           •           Netwerk           •           Organisatie           •          Podcasts
Board Brief            •            Werkprogramma 2023-2027           •           Onderzoeksagenda


Onze partners

B20160708_university of groningen
B20211201_Cardano_Logo 2021_website
AFM logo 2023 zwart wit
Bekijk al onze partners