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This article tries to understand how and why survivors’ pensioners – widows and orphans relying on derived social insurance rights – suffered the brunt of adjustment in the overdue pension reform pursued under the supervision of European institutions during the Greek bailout from 2010 to 2018. The explanation revolves around governance shortcomings – an inability to balance conflicting considerations. System fragmentation had postponed reform and preserved inequalities: at one extreme some widows had no pension rights, while full pensions were paid to unmarried daughters of some public employees. According to Share data, this diversity is reflected in behavioural differences by cohort and provider. For example, widows’ rights seem to have influenced marital behaviour and there is a large age gap between spouses. The bailout reforms retroactively recalibrated pensions to produce fiscal savings, but also pursued a modernisation agenda, part of which were elements of personalisation; it hence affected survivors’ pensioners more than others. Though some of these changes are apparently being reversed after the bailout, the final word on the issue is still to be settled.


  • social security
  • Greece
  • survivors’ pensions
  • economic crisis
  • gender
Platon Tinios
Thomas Georgiadis
Michalis Chouzouris
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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