Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents


State Welfare Assistance

The pension scheme in socialist Romania provided for state employees only. Cooperatives, professional associations, and the clergy had to provide their own pensions. State employees were usually required to retire at age sixty-two for men and fifty-seven for women. Retirement could be postponed for up to three years, or individuals could request early retirement at sixty years of age for men and fifty-two for women if conditions for length of service were met (twenty-five years for women and thirty years for men). The employer adjudicated requests for early or postponed retirement. Pensions were based on the employee's salary level and length of service. Retirees without the required length of service had their pensions reduced accordingly. Pension amounts were not permanently fixed, but could be adjusted up or down according to the needs of the state, and presumably, the needs of the elderly.

In addition to retirement pensions, the state provided pensions to invalids and survivors' benefits to the immediate families of deceased persons entitled to retirement pensions. Monetary assistance was also provided under a state insurance plan in cases of sickness or injury. Again, this help was available only to state employees. The state also provided special programs for social assistance to orphans, people with mental or physical handicaps, and the elderly.

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Many scholars have written on the structure and dynamics of Romanian society. Especially interesting and informative overviews can be found in Lawrence S. Graham's Romania: A Developing Socialist State and Ian Matley's Romania: A Profile. Michael Shafir's Romania: Politics, Economy, and Society is remarkable for depth and detail. The Political Economy of Romanian Socialism by William E. Crowther is an excellent description of both politics and society. A thorough examination of industrialization and urbanization and their impact on society is presented in Per Ronnas's Urbanization in Romanian, a Geography of Social and Economic Change. A useful examination of systematization made all the more interesting and informative for its anthropological perspective is Steven L. Sampson's National Integration Through Socialist Planning. Trond Gilberg's Modernization in Romania since World War II describes socioeconomic modernization, education, political socialization, housing, social services, and medical care. Transylvania, the Roots of Ethnic Conflict, edited by John F. Cadzow, Andrew Ludanyi, and Louis J. Elteto, and an article by George Schöpflin, "The Hungarians of Romania," provide thorough treatments of ethnic minority issues. Several articles by William Moskoff are invaluable for their information on women's issues and demographic policy. The following books provide excellent comparisons of Romanian and other East European societies: Politics and Society in Eastern Europe, by Joni Lovenduski and Jean Woodall; Socialism, Politics and Equality, by Walter D. Connor; Socialism's Dilemmas: State and Society in the Soviet Bloc, also by Connor; and Politics in Eastern Europe, by Ivan Volgyes. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of July 1989