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Always the third rail?: pension income and policy preferences in European democracies

Lynch, Julia and Myrskylä, Mikko (2009) Always the third rail?: pension income and policy preferences in European democracies. Comparative Political Studies, 42 (8). pp. 1068-1097. ISSN 0010-4140

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0010414009331722


Social transfer programs are thought to generate beneficiary groups who will act politically to defend “their” programs from retrenchment. But little empirical research has been conducted to either verify or disconfirm the micro foundations of this hypothesis, which lies at the heart of the “new social risks” thesis as well as many economic analyses of welfare state politics. This article tests empirically whether benefiting from public pensions leads individuals to greater support of the pension system status quo, net of other factors. It uses cross—data set imputation to combine cross-nationally comparable individual-level data on income from public pensions with political attitudes toward proposed pension reforms. The hypothesis that public pension systems create policy feedbacks of self-interested beneficiaries supporting further pension spending is not supported in any of 11 European countries in either 1992 or 2001.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Sage
Divisions: Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 17:05
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 17:09

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