Bridging Partner Lifecycle Earnings and Pension Gaps by Sharing NDC Accounts

Sweden’s gender pension gap is about 33 percent at retirement, reflecting the gender earnings gap – itself a reflection of a structural gender difference in low-pay jobs for women and men and career advancement opportunities. The individual nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) account data examined show that the allocation of time to informal care work in the home versus formal market work is the main determinant of the gaps. A case is presented for sharing accounts as the default, making the cost of women’s time in home care explicit and negotiable, reducing the minimum guarantee pension’s role as an implicit tax-financed spousal subsidy. The paper also analyzes the likelihood of needing a guarantee and the effect of sharing under various circumstances.