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Managing Financial RisksFrom Global to Local$
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Gordon L. Clark, Adam D. Dixon, and Ashby H. B. Monk

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557431

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557431.001.0001

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Gender, Risk, and Occupational Pensions

Gender, Risk, and Occupational Pensions

(p.258) 11 Gender, Risk, and Occupational Pensions
Managing Financial Risks

Kendra Strauss

Oxford University Press

There is relatively little work that attempts to link up work on financialization with the body of research on gendered pension inequality. This is despite the fact that research on financial literacy, planning, and risk tolerance, decision-making confidence has highlighted distinct differences between men and women in all these domains. This chapter addresses that lacuna, focusing on the UK. The first section examines the gender gap in DC occupational pensions. The second part of the chapter sketches the broad contours of the financialization of UK occupational pensions in order to define the processes being addressed. The third section looks first at some of the macro-level changes associated with the financialization of occupational pensions before turning to the issues of financial literacy (financial capability) and planning, risk tolerance, and confidence in order to advance two main arguments. The first is that, in addition to highlighting compelling empirical evidence of persistent inequalities in coverage, savings rates, and employer contributions, evidence from economic geography and behavioural economics suggests a counter-narrative to the discourse of the ‘investor subject’, which recognizes the gendered nature of the assumptions that underpin both macro trends in pension policy, and the design of defined contribution (DC) occupational schemes. The second argument, the policy implications of which are discussed in the concluding section, is that when future trajectories for the evolution of occupational pensions under conditions of deepening financialization are considered, better and more widespread financial education to increase levels of capability without redistribution will fail to redress gendered pension inequality.

Keywords:   global finance, risk management, gender, pensions, financial literacy, gender gap, occupational pensions, inequalities, savings rates, behavioural economics

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