Contingency in risk management: the case of pension funds in Sweden and Finland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)



Publication details

Title of host publicationRethinking social risks in the Nordics
DatePublished - 2012
Number of pages30
PublisherFoundation for European Progressive Studies
Place of PublicationBrussels
EditorsVille-Pekka Sorsa
Original languageEnglish


Capital derived from statutory and voluntary pension arrangements has played a role of utmost importance in the development of capitalist national economies and of global finance. And yet, despite this increasing interest in pension funds in the social sciences, the topic has gained very little attention in social policy. We argue that while it remains essential for social policy to focus on benefit delivery, these studies should be complemented and completed with an analysis on pension fund investment-making – the ‘asset side’ of pension provision. Indeed, funded, partially funded or prefunded pension systems are not only about generating returns to improve old-age pension benefits or to decrease pension costs. They are equally much about financial pension power: about generating vast pools of capital that can be used in various different ways to achieve different kinds of policy targets. We argue it is at best arbitrary and at worst inconsistent for social policy studies to focus on liabilities and put assets aside when studying and especially classifying pension systems and histories.

Bibliographical note

© The authors and Foundation for European Progressive Studies. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

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