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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Pensions - Overseas

Do universal non-contributory old-age pensions make sense for rural areas?

J.K.M. Johnson and J.B. Williamson

International Social Security Review, vol.59, Oct.-Dec. 2006, p.47-65

Current projections suggest that in the decades ahead there is going to be a rapid increase in the size of the retired population in developing countries. At the same time family support networks are being weakened due to factors such as the migration of young people from rural to urban areas in search of jobs. These changes are leading to increased risks of old age destitution. Several policy models have been proposed to deal with this problem. This article focuses on the efficacy of one of the most promising of these models, universal non-contributory old age pensions.

New indicators of 30 OECD countries’ pension systems

E. Whitehouse

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, vol.5, 2006, p.275-298

This article provides consistent data on pension entitlements for the 30 countries of the OECD, allowing cross-country analysis of the adequacy and distribution of pension promises. It begins with a brief description of the 30 retirement income regimes and compares key parameters such as pension eligibility ages, ceilings on pensionable earnings, contribution rates to defined contribution schemes and accrual rates for defined benefit plans. Subsequent sections present data on earnings replacement rates, pension wealth, indexation of pensions in payment, the structure of the pension package, and the progressivity of the pension benefit formula.

Universal old age pensions in developing countries: the example of Mauritius

L. Willmore

International Social Security Review, vol.59, Oct-Dec. 2006, p.67-89

Mauritius, a small developing country located in the Indian Ocean, has provided its residents with non-contributory old-age pensions since 1950. The scheme became universal in 1958. Means testing was reintroduced in 1965 and again in 2004. However, targeting proved unpopular and universitality was restored in each case. Government added a mandatory, contributory tier to the pension system in 1978, which offers participants (about half the population) an income-related benefit to top up the universal pension. This article draws lessons from Mauritius’ experience for other developing countries.

What do older workers want?

S. Vickerstaff (editor)

Social Policy and Society, vol.5, 2006, p.479-567

Against a background of concern about the economic and social consequences of low employment rates among the over-50s, much public policy has come to focus on encouraging people to work longer and delay retirement. The articles in this themed section explore the attitudes and behaviours of older workers towards a range of issues surrounding continuing work and retirement. The research emphasises the importance of choice and control for individuals’ sense of well-being at work and in retirement. There is also a need to increase the opportunities for flexible working patterns for older workers. The articles also highlight the various constraints on choice over work and retirement decisions. These restrictions vary between men and women and across occupational, sectoral and national contexts. In order to keep older workers in employment, more attention could be paid to their training and career development needs and to fostering a more supportive workplace environment.

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