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DISCUSSION PAPER PI-0707

Individual Accounts for Social Security Reform: Lessons From the United Kingdom

David Blake and John Turner

To consider a Social Security reform approach that creates substantially new
structures such as voluntary carve-out accounts, it is important to apply what
we already know about the functioning of pension systems and their effects
on workers rather than analyzing an idealized form of the proposed system.
This article describes the United Kingdom’s experience with voluntary carveout
accounts, including the system’s numerous difficulties. Among the many
problems are “mis-selling,” high administrative costs and fundamental difficulty
determining the appropriate offset between the reduction in the worker’s
payment to Social Security and the reduction in that person’s Social Security
benefits.