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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2006): Pensions - overseas

Left to market and family - again? Ideas and the development of the rural pension policy in China

S.-J. Shi

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.791-806

In rural areas of China, responsibility for social welfare rested with village collectives and with peasant families themselves. Since the economic reforms of 1978, the village collectives have collapsed and the population has aged, putting traditional arrangements for rural old age security into doubt. The state introduced a rural pension scheme in the early 1990s, but retreated from the original institutional design a few years later. The author argues that the failure of the rural pension scheme to evolve into a comprehensive system is due to conflicting ideas amongst bureaucrats about what kind of old-age security the rural elderly really need. Fluctuations in this policy realm clearly show the predominance of the idea that land, family and private insurance would provide peasants with security in old age. Given this alleged self-reliance of rural residents, the state is hesitant about establishing a comprehensive rural pension scheme.

Simple transfers, complex outcomes: the impacts of pensions on poor households in Brazil

P. Lloyd-Sherlock

Development and Change, vol.37, 2006, p.969-995

This article has sought to identify significant effects that receipt of a monthly pension has on households in poor communities in Brazil, using both quantitative survey data and in-depth interviews. Overall the research demonstrates that Brazil’s complementary pension schemes are effective in reaching households in poor communities, with the means-tested scheme serving as a safety-net for those unable to obtain contributory pensions. Data also suggests that pensions are usually shared across households; that they serve as a disincentive to economic activity; and that they facilitate access to healthcare.

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