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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2004): Pensions - Overseas

ASSESSING PENSION SYSTEM REFORMS IN LATIN AMERICA

C. Ochando Claramunt

International Social Security Review, Vol. 57, Apr-June 2004, p.25-46

Pension scheme reform in Latin America has favoured individual as opposed to collective responsibility, the private market as opposed to public provision and funded, as opposed to pay-as-you-go schemes. The paper assesses the impact of the reform on coverage, risks and uncertainty, redistribution, savings and administrative and management costs.

A LONG FINANCIAL MARCH: PENSION REFORM IN CHINA

D. Beland and K. Man Yu

Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 33, 2004, p.267-288

The paper analyses contemporary pension reform in China through the interplay of four main factors:

  • decentralisation and limited administrative capacity, which made it difficult to rationalise and transform the existing pensions system;
  • feedback effects from previously enacted pension schemes that further complicate policy change;
  • liberalisation and economic reforms, which have created "vested interests" in the newly established private sector, but which have lacked the strength to generate a mature financial system;
  • the apparent dominance of the neo-liberal financial paradigm associated with the World Bank. While this paradigm favours the adoption of reform proposals, the other factors complicate their implementation.

PENSIONS IN CRISIS

S.J. Schieber

Pensions, Vol. 9, 2004, p.212-226

In light of recent alarm about the state of pensions in the USA, article critically examines the funding status of employer-sponsored schemes. It finds that although underfunding is a problem which needs attention, most plans are not in jeopardy and underfunding is not the most serious problem facing the pension system. It warns against imposing new rules on all funds, thus dismantling a system that has served American workers and businesses well for over a century.

PENSION REFORM IN THE EU ACCESSION COUNTRIES: CHALLENGES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND PITFALLS

E. Fultz

International Social Security Review, Vol. 57, Apr.-June 2004, p.3-24

Since the mid 1990s nearly all of the 13 EU accession countries have increased their pensionable age and adopted new systems for voluntary supplemental pension savings. Five have scaled down their social insurance schemes in favour of new systems of commercially managed individual savings accounts.

RETIREMENT AGE: ECONOMIC OUTCOME OR SOCIAL CHOICE? PENSION FLEXIBILITY AND RETIREMENT CHOICE

T. Salter

Pensions, Vol. 9, 2004, p.256-274

The paper examines the conditions that have to be met for a person to be able to retire at a time of their choosing - "partial pension" flexibility, full retirement income adequacy, the elimination of age discrimination in employment, and sufficient mental and physical health to sustain an active and productive lifestyle. It identifies policy developments in Europe and North America over the past twenty years which have affected employment and retirement practices, before considering in more detail the developments that have direct bearing on these conditions. It concludes with the author's own views on what still needs to be accomplished if the conditions are to be achieved.

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