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Reading: A Life-long Culmination of Inequalities: Mechanisms Behind the Gender Pension Gap

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Policy Paper

A Life-long Culmination of Inequalities: Mechanisms Behind the Gender Pension Gap

Author:

Laura Butts

GB
About Laura

MSc International Social and Public Policy
Class of 2019
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Abstract

Increasingly, public policy efforts are concerned
with the issue of gender equality. However, one area
of gendered outcomes that has not yet received much
attention is the gender pension gap. The gender pension
gap refers to the difference in retirement income
between men and women. Thus far, in the literature on
gendered outcomes in various welfare regimes, scholars
are divided. While some point to cultural and structural
variables as the main causal mechanisms for these
differences in outcomes, others suggest that the state
itself, through its public policy decisions, plays a more
substantial role.

 


Using a mixed-methods approach, this work looks
to broadly test both sides of the theoretical debate on
the gender pension gap. In light of the large variations
in gender pension gap rates among European states,
this work quantitatively analyses cultural and structural
variables and qualitatively analyses institutional or
public policy variables to inform or support suggested
causal mechanisms behind these wide differences.
After testing the cultural and structural variables, as
represented by elements of limited female labour market
participation, this work finds that these factors alone do
not explain much of the variation in gender pension gap
rates between countries. Moreover, after comparing two
cases selected due to their similarity in terms of cultural
and structural variables, this work finds that elements
of pension system design may contribute to gender
pension gap rates. However, these findings are limited by
variability of data.

How to Cite: Butts, L., 2020. A Life-long Culmination of Inequalities: Mechanisms Behind the Gender Pension Gap. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 8(1).
Published on 20 Mar 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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