Palmer, Edward

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Social insurance, Pensions, Welfare economics
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Edward Palmer is a Professor (emeritus) of Social Insurance Economics and Senior Fellow at the Uppsala Center for Labor Studies. He shared professorships first at Gothenburg and then Uppsala University with a position as Head of Research and Evaluation at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. He was an expert economist in Sweden's pension reform group, has advised in numerous countries, and has published extensively in macro and social insurance economics.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    The Swedish NDC Scheme: Success on Track with Room for Reflection
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Palmer, Edward ; Könberg, Bo
    Sweden’s reform began with a published sketch in 1992 and developed into nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) legislation in 1994. This paper discusses the underpinnings of the Swedish NDC scheme’s financial stability, factors influencing the adequacy of benefits, and its interplay with other components of the pension system: the public financial defined contribution scheme, the minimum pension guarantee, and the occupational schemes. The paper also includes information on the December 2017 broad six-party political agreement on forthcoming legislation. It concludes with recommendations for additional improvements in the overall old-age pension system, based on the analysis of financial stability, adequacy, and differences in outcomes, and the interaction of the NDC scheme with the guarantee benefits and the occupational schemes.
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    Bridging Partner Lifecycle Earnings and Pension Gaps by Sharing NDC Accounts
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Klerby, Anna ; Larsson, Bo ; Palmer, Edward
    Sweden’s gender pension gap is about 33 percent at retirement, reflecting the gender earnings gap – itself a reflection of a structural gender difference in low-pay jobs for women and men and career advancement opportunities. The individual nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) account data examined show that the allocation of time to informal care work in the home versus formal market work is the main determinant of the gaps. A case is presented for sharing accounts as the default, making the cost of women’s time in home care explicit and negotiable, reducing the minimum guarantee pension’s role as an implicit tax-financed spousal subsidy. The paper also analyzes the likelihood of needing a guarantee and the effect of sharing under various circumstances.
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    Harnessing a Young Nation’s Demographic Dividends through a Universal NDC Pension Scheme: A Case Study of Tanzania
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Larsson, Bo ; Leyaro, Vincent ; Palmer, Edward
    About one-half of Africa’s population will remain below age 30 well past 2050,with relatively few aged 60 and older. Using Tanzania’s projected demographics and presenteconomic point of departure, this paper demonstrates how the implicit “double”demographic dividend can be harnessed to create inclusive growth. A Swedish-style non financial defined contribution (NDC) system is launched where the government can borrow funds from the future through NDC “consol” bonds to transform individual savings into human and physical capital to promote inclusive economic growth. The consol bonds constitute a reserve to cover pensions of the retiring “demographic bubble” in the future as the dependency ratio gradually glides into demographic equilibrium. Minimum transfers tothe current elderly are also introduced with the phase-in.
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    NDC: The Generic Old-Age Pension Scheme
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Góra, Marek ; Palmer, Edward
    This paper defines a universal public pension scheme (UPPS) as a government mandated lifecycle longevity insurance scheme that transfers individual consumption from the working years to retirement. It discusses the differences in four UPPS designs designated as either defined contribution (DC) or defined benefit (DB), and financial or nonfinancial. With individual DC accounts, the ball is in the individual’s court. The transparent link between contributions and retirement income is the enabler of efficiency that through marginal decisions to choose formal work over informal work or leisure and to postpone retirement marginally toward the end of the working life, supports affordability and sustainability for a chosen level of adequacy. Hence, UPPS-DC designs are found superior to UPPS-DB designs.
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    The Latvian NDC Scheme: Success Under a Decreasing Labor Force
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Palmer, Edward ; Stabina, Sandra
    Latvia introduced a nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) scheme in 1996 as it transitioned to a market economy. Despite a 20 percent decline in the working-age population from 1994–2016, the ratio of contributors to old-age pensioners rose from 1.6 to 2.1 given a steady increase in formal labor force participation and 5-6 percent real per capita wage growth. Projections show that long-term financial balance will be maintained through 2070, despite the threat of a projected 50 percent decline in the working-age population. Budgeted reserves will cushion the continued transition into a two-pillar public pension scheme. Latvia’s most important long-term policy challenge is to create the domestic investments and economic growth to reward younger workers for remaining in the country.