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2004 | 2(146) | 66-89

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The 1999 reform of the mandatory pension scheme in Poland introduced the defined contribution system. It should be treted as the institutional framework enabling individuals to allocate part of their income for retirement, but as most public pensions systems, it combines elements of savings, insurance and redistribution. The obligatory pension system should aim at the following goals: - to treat individuals equally; - every beneficiary should be protected against poverty in the old age; - to minimize the system influence on the labor supply and savings decisions of individuals. Mandatory annuitization has been found as crucial for achieving these goals. In the defined contribution system the wage and labor supply differences lead to a different pension capital on which monthly benefits are based. Because a focus is on the redistribution across genders, the alternative annuity programs and disparities in the statutory retirement age are considered as the most important. Contributions paid during periods out of work, an access to retirement capital gathered by the spouse and a minimum pension guarantees are also of different importance for males and females.The comparative analysis shows that the statutory retirement age for women equal to 60 years leads to substantially lower benefits as those obtained by men. Shifting women's retirement age till 65 years increases substantially the benefits of women. Due to the different mortality patterns, unisex annuities imply redistribution from males to females: not only the benefits are equal provided that individuals gathered the same retirement capital, but also the expected present value of benefits is for women 11% higher than their annuitized capital. Such a feature of the system creates incentives for women to participate in the scheme. Moreover, subsidies received by women increase with a length of an activity spell. If the annuities were calculated separately for males and females in the so called second pillar of the system, the scale of the redistribution would be reduced. However, the redistribution is not fully removed due to unisex annuities from the so called first pillar of the system. An analysis of a role of joint&survivor annuities confirms that they can be an important and efficient tool for the allocation of the household's income within the life-cycle. Because of the imminent transfer from males to females, these annuities should be available in the pension system as they can improve welfare of some households. However, they should be chosen voluntarily. As women are more likely to apply for a minimum pension guarantee it makes that measure important for protection against their poverty in the old age. An access to a retirement capital of the spouse – which applies in majority cases for women - should be granted after reaching retirement age because by increasing the widow's income it may create incentives to withdraw from the labor market.





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  • P. Lewandowski, Szkola Glowna Handlowa w Warszawie, Katedra Ekonomii I, al. Niepodleglosci 162, 02-554 Warszawa, Poland


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