Reform, information, education: a new paradigm for pension reform

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Financial literacy has important implications not only for personal well-being, but also for economic reforms, and thus for collective well-being. Reforms are meant to change people’s behavior. Their effectiveness crucially depends on citizens recognising and generally accepting their necessity, general design, ‘sense of direction’. Without basic understanding by citizens, reforms risk having little or no effect or even being nullified. Responsible judgment about economic reforms requires not only literacy but also information and numeracy. People’s effective participation in the reform is a prerequisite for correcting misperceptions and changing behaviour (on the part of workers, employers and institutions as well) and thus for the social sustainability (resilience) of the reform. This is particularly true of pension reforms because of their profound impact on people’s life plans. The 2011 Italian pension reform is seen as a case in point.

Elsa Fornero is a Professor of Economics at the University of Turin, Department of Business and Economics; Scientific Coordinator of CeRP – Centre for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, the first centre devoted to research on pensions in Italy, which she started in 1999.

Her current positions include:

- Vice-President of Share Eric (Survey of health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe)
- Member of the Board of Directors of Cintia (Centro Interuniversitario Netspar Italy)
- Honorary Senior Fellow of the Collegio Carlo Alberto
- Research fellow of Netspar
- Member of the Scientific Council of Observatoire de l’Européene, Paris
- Member of the Advisory Group New Pact for Europe

She is the author of many publications about public and private pension systems, pension reforms, population ageing, household saving , retiring choices and life insurance. She has be an op-ed writer for the Italian economic daily Il Sole 24 Ore. On behalf of the World Bank, in the early 2000s, she assessed the pension systems of Russia, Latvia, Macedonia and Albania.

She served as Minister of Labor, Social Policies and Equal Opportunities in Italy’s ‘technocratic’ government and in this capacity conceived and drafted the pension reform and labour market reform that, by altering the medium and long term structure of Italian public finance and labour market, were fundamental to the subsequent lifting of the EU excessive deficit procedure against Italy and to a process of long term rebalancing of economic relationship between generations, from the middle aged to the younger ones.

The ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is co-hosting this lecture. The event will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Professor John Piggott, Director of CEPAR. Confirmed panellists include Serena Wilson, Deputy Secretary, Department of Social Services.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.