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The Varieties of Pension GovernancePension Privatization in Europe$
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Bernhard Ebbinghaus

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586028

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586028.001.0001

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Belgium: The Paradox of Persisting Voluntarism in a Corporatist Welfare State

Belgium: The Paradox of Persisting Voluntarism in a Corporatist Welfare State

(p.57) 3 Belgium: The Paradox of Persisting Voluntarism in a Corporatist Welfare State
The Varieties of Pension Governance

Johan J. De Deken

Oxford University Press

Belgium's public–private pension mix can be considered a paradox: despite the conservative-corporatist welfare regime and rather limited Bismarckian social insurance for old age, voluntarist occupational pensions remained underdeveloped. Until recent pension reforms, the comparatively low replacement rates of public pensions did not lead to the development of extensive occupational plans, even if several institutional conditions that elsewhere advanced the expansion of supplementary pensions were given. The chapter also reviews the governance of private pensions, discussing how recent attempts to broaden access to occupational pensions have been facilitated and frustrated by the decision to embed those schemes into the neo-corporatist system of collective agreements. Although this allows to extend coverage of private pensions for lower income groups, at the same time it also severely limited the possibility to mobilize funds that are necessary to guarantee adequate income maintenance for the general population.

Keywords:   Belgium, Bismarckian social insurance, pension reform, occupational pensions, corporatism, employers, trade unions, pension fund governance

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