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).