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Pensions and retirement
The unexpectedly rapid ageing of the population makes it urgent that we design a system that will encourage those who can provide for their own retirement while helping those who reach the end of their working lives with insufficient wealth to sustain what society regards as an acceptable standard of living. These objectives frequently - and perhaps inherently - conflict. In dealing as best they can with the inevitable trade-offs, policymakers need to have three important questions (among many others) in mind.

First, is the financial support offered to pensioners by the state in retirement sustainable in terms of the burden it places on the working population, who pick up most of the bill in the form of taxation? Second, are the mechanisms by which the private financial sector helps people save for retirement sustainable in the sharing of risk between employers and employees? And, third, is the way in which the state and private systems interact sustainable in the sense that the combination promises people a reasonable degree of financial security without creating unduly powerful disincentives for them to work and save?

Research in this area looks at these questions. We look in detail at the impact of various government reforms and proposals for reform to the pension system.

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Year: 257 publications
20 March 2014
This presentation was given at the IFS post-Budget briefing on 20 March 2014.
19 March 2014
Paul Johnson writes in the Financial Times and argues there are better ways than reducing pensions tax relief.
17 March 2014
This research looks at what the planned single-tier pension really means for individuals
31 January 2014
This paper was presented at the Netspar International Pension Workshop in Amsterdam on 31st January 2014
01 January 2014
This video and accompanying presentation slides draw on material given in a presentation to economics students, as part of a public economics series of lectures in December 2013 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
17 December 2013
R89
This report compares and contrasts the economic circumstances of individuals born between the 1940s and the 1970s, currently ages between their mid-30s and mid-70s.
17 December 2013
Inherited wealth looks like the only major factor that could act to make individuals born in the 1960s and 1970s better off in retirement than their predecessors, on average.
17 December 2013
Robert Joyce and Andrew Hood argue that there is inequality between those who inherit and those who don't.
17 December 2013
W13/30
This paper analyses whether higher lifetime income households save a larger share of their income.
16 December 2013
This presentation was given at the IFS Public Economic Lectures on 16 December 2013 in London.
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Browse publications & research

Impact on Society
Past research into pension reform has contributed to evidence given to government on public service pensions.
Reform of the complex French state pension system was informed by recommendations by IFS researchers.
IFS researchers present and discuss new research on retirement saving with a group of business leaders and policy makers.