Mary Ann Erickson

Associate Professor, Gerontology


A major policy concern for the U.S. is affording Social Security as the Baby Boom generation shifts from paying taxes into the system to collecting benefits.  However, many other countries have both an older population and more generous government benefits.  Looking at the pension systems in other countries can help put the U.S. situation in context.

Power Point file:

“Social Security Global” – presents the basic of public pension types.  Based on the Pampel reading.

Suggested readings:

Lassey, William R. and Marie L. Lassey (Eds.), 2001.  Quality of Life for Older People:  An International Perspective.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice-Hall.

In addition to chapters giving an overview of factors involved in promoting quality of life, seven chapters focus on programs in individual countries (Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and France).

Pampel, Fred C.  (1998).  Aging, Social Inequality, and Public Policy.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Pine Forge Press.

While the book could use updating, it has excellent chapters focusing on a comparative perspective on policy.

Suggested websites

AARP International

Good set of resources about policies relating to aging in different countries.  Include links to their Global Report on Aging.

Center for Retirement Research

Links to a wide range of publications, many of which focus on other countries.

Social Security Programs Throughout the World

Basic information for all countries.

Possible class activities

1.  After introducing basic concepts in class, assign students individually or in groups to use the SSA website to investigate and present on the pension system in another country.

2.  A similar but larger project would be for students to summarize pension systems in another world region (i.e., South America, Asia, etc.)