Czech pension reform: how to reconcile equivalence with fiscal discipline

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Abstract

One of the recent changes in the Czech Republic’s pension system was provoked by a petition to the Constitutional Court. The setting of bend points for determining the amount of pensions depending on the insured person’s previous earnings was contested as discrimination against higher income categories. The Constitutional Court granted the petition. The result was an approval and implementation of an amendment to Act No. 155/1995 Coll., on Pension Insurance, that for the purposes of calculating the level of old-age pensions favoured the highest income decile at the expense of most other insured persons, namely those with middle incomes. Simultaneously, the political criterion of fiscal discipline was applied to ensure the financial sustainability of the pension system. In analysing this case, we critically adopt the theory of actor-centred institutionalism and the theory of the policy cycle. From the nature of the analysed case it follows that we pay attention mainly to the legislative process which resulted in the amendment. Our methodology is dominated by analysis of documents (legal norms, court decisions, political programmes, official publications) and political and administrative communication (including debates on legislative drafts in the executive and legislature).

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