Evidence type: Insight i
Qualitative research is more exploratory, and uses a range of methods like interviews, focus groups and observation to gain a deeper understanding about specific issues - such as people’s experiences, behaviours and attitudes.
Quantitative research uses statistical or numerical analysis of survey data to answer questions about how much, how many, how often or to what extent particular characteristics are seen in a population. It is often used to look at changes over time and can identify relationships between characteristics like people’s attitudes and behaviours.
Recent reports, including research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission, have given the ‘gender pay gap’ in pensions considerable attention throughout Europe. The European Commission estimated that the gender gap across the entire EU-27 population (aged 65 and above) stood at 40 per cent in 2011. However, cross-national variation is huge, ranging from just three per cent in Estonia to 46 per cent in the Netherlands. In 2011, wide-ranging pension reforms in Norway mirrored central features of famous Swedish and Italian reforms of the 1990s, involving the adoption of the notional defined contribution (NDC) approach, in which the accumulation of pension rights is directly linked to earnings over the entire life course.
A number of redistributive components are built into the Norwegian system, including a ceiling on annual earnings, a gender-neutral annuity divisor, generous child credits, a possibility for widows/widowers to inherit pension rights from a deceased spouse, a targeted guaranteed pension with higher benefit rates to single pensioners compared to married/cohabitating pensioners, and a tax system that is seen as particularly progressive in its treatment of pensioners and pension income, and encouraging gender equality
This 2019 peer-reviewed article from the Journal of European Social Policy uses an advanced statistical modelling technique known as microsimulation to study the distributional effects of the reformed Norwegian pension system, with a particular focus on gender equality.
The authors conduct an analysis to investigate how different components of the Norwegian national insurance pension system impacts on the gender gap in pensions and on general inequality in the distribution of pension income among one cohort of pensioners, all born in 1963.
The analysis is conducted using an established Norwegian microsimulation model, that simulates lifetime trajectories for the entire Norwegian population. The model simulates a wide-range of processes and life-events, including demographics, educational choices, differing incomes and pensions. The 1963 cohort is selected, as it is the first cohort whose pensions are completely determined by the new regulations.
Methodological strengths and limitations: