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Social Security Pensionable Age in OECD Countries: 1949-2035

Countries are converging on their pensionable age policies, and the trend is toward higher retirement ages. Using data on pensionable or early retirement ages in 23 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries for the years 1949-2035, this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper by John Turner examines the social security reform process that leads to changes in pensionable age. Findings include:

  • Since the early 1990s, more than a third of OECD countries have enacted legislation raising the pensionable age for men, and about two-thirds have done so for women. Based on legislation in effect in 2004, 15 of the 23 traditional OECD countries will have a pensionable age for men (and 14 of these countries for women) of 65 or higher by 2035.
  • Although it might be thought that reforms would tend to involve marginal changes of one year, much more common are increases of five years. For example, Belgium, Japan, and New Zealand have raised their pensionable ages by five years for both men and women, and Australia and the United Kingdom have done so for women to equalize it with the age for men. (55 pages)

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