The Changing Conception of Pension Rights in Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Marier, Patrik (2008)
Social Policy and Administration, 42(4): 418-433.


Relying on four conceptualizations of the welfare state (universalism, redistribution, state capacity, and intergenerational equity), this article presents an overview of recent pension reforms in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Each country has introduced important reforms in the past 25 years and is currently engaged in debates to make other adjustments. The state is reducing its financial and programmatic commitment towards current and future retirees and is promulgating reforms tightening the link between contributions and benefits. In Canada, the government raised contribution rates substantially to maintain the same level of benefits while it sought to alter its universal flat-rate benefit. In the USA, changes to Social Security have resulted in a higher retirement age and lower replacement rates. In the case of Mexico, the most important public schemes have actually been privatized.