Pension reform in European political economies has increased the institutional proximity of local pension arrangements and emerging retirement-income institutions with the prospects of global financial markets and conventional investment practice. Applying new institutional theory to case studies of pension reforms in Finland, Germany and France, we find that this increasing relational proximity is deeply embedded in existing institutional practices typical of each political economy, simultaneously supporting continuity and change. This suggests that the linearity inherent in debates over convergence and divergence in comparative capitalism needs to move to more multidimensional understandings of political–economic variety more sensitive to agency in order to grasp what is ultimately occurring as political economies transform and interact, particularly under conditions of financialisation.
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