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Handbook of Income Distribution by Francois Bourguignon, Anthony B. Atkinson

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12.5 The Gender Gap in Pensions

Pensions are the main source of retirement income for the elderly, and it is well known that older women receive far less individual pension income than older men. All countries have adopted various mechanisms to take into account the wages lost by women because of their family constraints and to reduce their risk of poverty in old age. However, before 1990, the gender pension gap was a blind spot, virtually invisible in the economic literature (Ginn, 2001), and it has only recently attracted attention (see Jefferson, 2009, for a survey; Folbre et al., 2005). There were two reasons for this invisibility. First, because pensions were based on past earnings, their less advantageous careers automatically led to smaller ...

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