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Essays on the portability of pension rights and distortions in labour mobility choices

Cavalleri, Maria Chiara (2013) Essays on the portability of pension rights and distortions in labour mobility choices. Advisor: Petretto, Prof. Alessandro. Coadvisor: Dincecco, Dr. Mark . pp. 226. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Abstract

This thesis contributes to the debate on the role and efficacy of pension portability regimes in ensuring both a fair treatment of workers and neutrality as regards to labour mobility choices.Drawing on important contributions from the literature, I perform a comprehensive analysis that aims to bridge the gap between the economic and the political analyses of portability. In addition, I also present novel and unprecedented empirical insights on portability’s effects in the labour market. The thesis is comprised of an opening, introductory section followed by four main Chapters (from 2 to 5). Chapter 2 is devoted to a theoretical and empirical analysis of labour mobility. Two main practices are primarily discussed: international and occupational mobility. Then, the issue of pension portability is described and examined in detail in Chapter 3. In this section, focusing on the European Union, I survey the current legal framework for the portability of both mandatory public and private pension rights. While this analysis focuses on the current situation, I also review the historical evolution of rules and practices. This examination is complemented by a simulation exercise estimating possible pension entitlements for a representative worker accumulating pension rights in different EU countries. The simulations are performed using real parameters of national pension systems and are based on empirical assumptions. Overall, Chapter 3 offers therefore a very thorough analysis of portability regimes: both from a normative and an economic (i.e., costs vs. benefits) perspective. Chapters 4 and 5 contain two key empirical analyses in this dissertation. Chapter 4 focuses on the portability of complementary pension rights in Italy when job mobility occurs voluntarily across employers, but not across countries. Using micro-data from the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW), I examine whether coverage from an occupational pension plan has discouraged job mobility in Italy between 1998 and 2010. Such an effect has been documented to occur in other countries, especially the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, there has never been a similar examination for the case of Italy. My analysis provide very weak or no effect of pension portability losses impacting on labour mobility decisions. There is, on the contrary, some evidence that pension-covered jobs are better jobs overall, for the ample set of benefits they offer to workers and of which the pension plan is only an element. For this reason, mobility out of these positions is less convenient and thus frequent. Finally, Chapter 5 examines whether past difficulties in portability transfers affect the propensity for future international mobility. This is a unique research question that has not been studied in the literature so far. Specifically, I test the hypothesis that a positive experience of portability encourages people to consider further opportunities of mobility abroad, whereas negative experiences are likely to lower such interest. Both these effects are tested and estimated empirically using data from the Standard Eurobarometer Survey No. 75.1 (2011), covering 27 EU member states. I find that that easy portability in the past increases the propensity for job mobility abroad in comparison to people with no prior portability experience. On the contrary, difficult experiences slightly depress the propensity for mobility.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
PhD Course: Economics, Markets, Institutions
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/128
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 14:46
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/128

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