Martin HeneghanMartin Heneghan - photo November 2014

MA in Social Research (awarded with distinction), University of Sheffield
MA in Social Policy and Administration (awarded with distinction), University of Nottingham
BA (Hons) in Economics, University of Sheffield

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Twitter : @martinheneghan

Thesis title / scope of research

"Pension Provision after the Global Economic Crisis: A Comparative Study"

My doctoral research is concerned with the dramatic developments in pension provision in a number of countries since the global economic crisis. Between 1994 and 2004 nearly thirty countries privatised all or part of their public pension system. This was largely the result of a transnational advocacy campaign led by the World Bank. Privatising a public pension system represents a radical redrawing of the social contract, from a principle of collectivisation and intergenerational solidarity to individual responsibility. It also involves shifting from the state to the market as the provider of income in retirement. Privatisation incurs substantial upfront fiscal costs as the pensions of the current generation of retirees must be financed alongside the setting aside of resources for one’s own retirement.

Since the global economic crisis of 2008, a large number of countries have renationalised their privatised pension systems bringing them back under public control. This thesis will investigate this process. In an era of austerity were the large transitional costs of privatisation too much of a burden for countries that had privatised pension provision? Or were the counter-reforms a result of a disillusionment with the perceived benefits of privatisation that crystallised during the crisis and does this represent a deeper disillusionment with neoliberal policy prescriptions?

This thesis will adopt a constructivist approach to the research, It will analyse how pension provision has been constructed at the global level with a specific focus on international organisations active in the pension reform arena such as the World Bank and International Labour Organisation.


  • Primary Supervisor: Dr Liam Foster
  • Secondary Supervisor: Professor Alan Walker

Other experience / research interests

Research interests:

  • Global Social Policy
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • International Political Economy
  • Constructivist Political Economy
  • The Policy Process
  • Welfare State Development (and Retrenchment)
  • Post-communist Welfare Societies
  • Historical Institutionalism

Scholarships and Awards

ESRC 1+3 Studentship at the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre

School of Sociology and Social Policy Prize for Highest Achievement in the MA Social Policy, University of Nottingham


Stafford, B., Roberts, S., Duffy, D., & Heneghan, M. (2011). Review of Income Support: Stage 1 - Interaction Between Income Support Benefit System and Employment. A review for the Social Security Department, States of Jersey. International Centre for Public and Social Policy, University of Nottingham.