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The Third Academic Workshop on Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience

Event ended

The Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics will held the third academic workshop devoted to searching the equilibrium between pension policy and ageing society organized in cooperation with the World Bank within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience” on Thursday, April 25 at 10 a.m.

Many countries in the world are facing the challenge of being able to provide their citizens with an adequate income in retirement. Demographic changes, volatile macroeconomic conditions, new technological revolution and evolving nature of jobs market are affecting how the people will be protected from the poverty in the future and whether they will be able to enjoy decent living standards and economic independence while ageing. The Russian Federation, who adopted a retirement age increase and a set of employment support policies last year stands among other countries, who are trying to keep the sustainability and adequacy of their pension systems. A workshop will investigate the policy experience of Scandinavian countries and Baltic States in this area.


Ole Beier Sørensen, Ph.D., Senior Partner at Beier Research (Denmark).

The politics of age: Policy responses to increasing longevity - and their dilemmas and trade offs

Longevity is increasing, fertility is decreasing, real interest rates are low, growth is sluggish and dependency ratios threaten to weigh down economies. The solitaire leaves us with four options – work longer, save more, accept lower pensions or pass substantial financial burdens to our children, grandchildren and their descendants. The latter policy – robbing the nursery and undermining the welfare of future generations - is hardly a sustainable option for the longer term. Therefore, the main message of a responsible policy strategy is simple and runs: “When we live longer, we need to work longer!”

Russia is not alone in having to face these difficulties. In his presentation the speaker will provide an overview of policies adopted in other countries, how they combine sticks, carrots and solidarity measures, and he will comment on some of the outcomes. He will then look more closely at a few country examples – among other his own country Denmark where the pension age is linked to longevity and is now on a rapid upward hike. This exercise will illustrate the great importance of non-pension policies and the great responsibility of the social partners and of local industrial relations in supporting and facilitating longer work lives.

Longevity is increasing, and generally we are adding healthy years to our lives. However, this does not apply for all. In fact, driven by differences in cultures, life-styles, habits, living conditions, working conditions, access to health care…. socio-economic disparities in this respect are increasing. This development raises new policy challenges to be addressed. Some EU countries are facing resistance to pension age policies and a call to return to old policies allowing widespread early retirement. However, returning to failed policies of the past is hardly a recommendable strategy. So therefore, the question remains: What does an appropriate and balanced response look like, and what lessons can Russia draw from its European peers?

Olga Rajevska, PhD, Researcher, Scientific Institute of Economics and Management, University of Latvia (Latvia)

Reforming the retirement age in the Baltic States

As contrasted with the situation in Russia, the old dependency ratio in the Baltic States was relatively high at the beginning of the 1990s already, and the need to raise the statutory retirement age to maintain the sustainability of pension systems was supported by a broad consensus of political forces. The demographic burden exacerbated due to both negative natural increase, and permanent negative net migration, particularly among the working-age population. The speedy adoption of laws to raise the retirement age was facilitated also by painful structural changes in the economy, reducing employment rates, and the economical crises in the 1990s and in this century.

Raising the retirement age in the Baltic countries took place in two waves. The first wave began in the mid-1990s and was part of fundamental pension reforms. Initially, Estonia and Lithuania planned to maintain a higher retirement age for men, while Latvia immediately aimed at an equal age for both sexes. This wave lasted about 10 years and was accomplished reaching the benchmark of 62-63 years of age. The second (ongoing) wave was announced as a part of austerity package in the aftermath of the crisis in 2010-2011. It will be completed by 2025–2026 when the statutory retirement age reaches 65 years for both sexes. Estonia is considering the possibility of linking the retirement age to the average life expectancy.

The possibility of early retirement was offered as the main mitigating measure; there are no special legislative measures for the protecting people in pre-retirement age. In recent years, largely with the financing from European structural funds, the state has been implementing projects in the field of life-long education and is trying to reverse the prejudices of employers regarding older workers.


Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Discussion participants:

Zoran Anušić, Senior Economist, World Bank

Anton Tabakh, Chief Analyst, Expert-RA Agency, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics

Dmitri Pomazkin, Actuary, Private Pension Fund Gazprombank-fond, leading expert, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics


Venue: Higher School of Economics, Moscow, ul. Myasnitskaya 20, room 311

Date and time: April 25, 2019, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Working languages: English, Russian (simultaneous interpretation)

The online registration before 4 pm on Wednesday April 24, 2019 at http://isp.hse.ru/expresspolls/poll/261384450.html is required.

Media representatives are kindly asked to contact the University press service at press@hse.ru for accreditation to the event.