Conference - June 22-23, 2018

Homeland-Diaspora Relations in Flux

Greece and Greeks abroad at times of Crisis

St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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Presenting paper

Pensions and the Greek Diaspora: International Portability as a lifecycle bridge

Accumulated pension rights are the largest single personal asset in advanced countries. They earned that status by forming a bridge between life stages of individuals’ lives. Where life stages involve geographical mobility, the portability of pension rights is very important. This paper surveys conceptual issues linking migration, the logic of pension systems and the practice of international transfer of pension rights. The Greek experience, past, present and future is seen as a shifting equilibrium between the characteristics of migration and the features of the pension system. The past was characterized by bilateral agreements governing public pensions of (a) returning diasporas (Egypt), (b) circular gastarbeiter migration (e.g. Germany), or (c) life-cycle migration (US). In the present, pensions shift away from the state, with EU coordination to aid the movement of labour. A key question is how far Greek pension reforms since 2010 allow it to participate in international tendencies. How the future will evolve will depend on the interplay between changing migration and pension systems. New challenges will involve reciprocity for non-EU migrants, intra-EU migration of pensioners, and the adaptation to the future of work. The paper will conclude by discussing how changes in the portability of pension rights can aid links between Greece and its evolving new diaspora.

Author bio

Platon Tinios, is an economist, assistant professor at the University of Piraeus. He was educated in Egypt, Greece and the UK. He studied economics at the Universities of Cambridge (Christ’s College, MA, Ph.D) and Oxford (Nuffield College, M.Phil). He served as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Greece from 1996 to 2004, specializing in the economic analysis of social policy and pensions. He was the principal author of the ‘Spraos Report’ in 1997 and was a member of the EU Social Protection Committee from 2000 to 2004. He has participated in IMF Technical Assistance missions in the areas of social expenditure and pensions. In 2015/6 he was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics. His research interests include pensions, ageing, social policy, economics of insurance and public finance. He has written numerous books and journal articles in English and in Greek. In 2016 he tabled a new proposal for a multi-pillar pension reform for Greece.
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